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Boston University School of Law




In resolution of international contract disputes, arbitrators may sometimes show greater fidelity than courts to the parties’ intentions and established rule of a chosen law, foregoing any policy-making function similar to that sometimes asserted by common law judges. In adjusting international contracts, arbitrators face special tensions in their search for counterpoise between rival notions of predictability, often expressed in imprecise terms like “commercial reality” or “strict letter of the law” which like the humble chameleon take different colors depending on the backdrop.


Published as: "The Predictability Paradox: Arbitrators and Applicable Law," in The Application of Substantive Law by International Arbitrators, Dossiers of the ICC Institute of World Business Law , Volume 11, Fabio Bortolotti & Pierre Mayer, eds., Kluwer Law International; International Chamber of Commerce (2014).

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