Arbitration has evolved from a domestic phenomenon to play an increasingly important role internationally in the context of commercial, trade and investment disputes. The proliferation of these ‘cosmopolitan institutions’ such as international arbitral tribunals pushes global legal scholars to find new definitions and methodologies to approach globalization, to move away from the exclusive standpoint of legal norms to the standpoint of the actors themselves and their legal practices. It may offer a ‘decentering’ approach to the study of globalization.

How precisely arbitration as a field should be conceptualized? Has arbitration become part of a transnational non-state regulatory regime — a new ‘lex mercatoria’ outside the political structures of national States? What is the origin of arbitration? What is the value of arbitration? What is the legitimacy of arbitration?

This workshop brings a group of distinguished scholars from different jurisdictions and disciplines to explore the various dimensions of arbitration from philosophical, historical, cultural and economic perspectives. It intends to provide a space for debate, engagement and exploration of ideas, breaking through conventional sub-disciplinary boundaries — legal history, comparative law, jurisprudence, legal anthropologists, law and economics and other areas of substantive interest.