Article from: TDM 1 (2005), in Editorial
One of the most interesting development of the last couple of months has been OGEMID, the discussion forum for professionals (and some academics) in the field of international disputes, mainly, it seems, international arbitration and in particular now very much treaty-based investment arbitration. As is perhaps understandable with primarily (but not exclusively) lawyers, the forum has become not only a route to post news, but is very much a continuously on-going place of debate, much like a permanent conference.
With globalisation, transnational, cross-border transactions increase and multiply; in consequence, and naturally, disputes multiply as well and thus the market for specialists in managing them (lawyers - arbitrators - mediators - negotiators). This development is particularly visible in investment arbitration, a normally (but not exclusively) treaty-based form on arranging a review, by an arbitral tribunal, of governmental conduct (regulatory - administrative), a mechanism that has been set up partly to protect foreign investors, partly to reduce political risk perception in difficult countries and which works - as do all external judicial controls - to enhance governance quality and give greater credibility of otherwise less credible government commitments.
As the OGEMID discussion illustrates, the professional communities here have a need not only to be apprised of new developments (treaty changes, arbitral awards and new cases), but also of debate - like in a litigation or conference, but without the pressures. Concepts are being tested, participants from various legal cultures, disciplines and professional communities highlight their own approach and we find if it is relevant in international arbitration - in essence a somewhat fluid synthesis of the dominant legal cultures - or just an expression of national idiosyncracies. OGEMID thus serves as an instrument where the intellectual culture of a cosmopolitan adjudicatory system can be observed - and which I think it also now contributes to the evolution of such a intellectual and professional culture, including intellectual concepts, but also formal or informal rules and expectations. It is an interactive medium accompanying - and stimulating - the emergence of transnational economic law.
OGEMID also serves to enhance the quality control: Arbitral decisions are, in the tradition of commercial arbitration, mostly confidential. This has virtues - often disregarded by strident criticism (among them the greater propensity to settlement which confidentiality always encourages), but it also has disadvantages in terms of the absence of a quality control which is based on a professional debate. Investment arbitration, being a form of public-policy encompassing international judicial review of government conduct, requires and now obtains greater "transparency" - and this means in the sense of Western judicial tradition professional and critical discussion. Like senior court judges, major investment arbitral tribunals now have to be cognizant (which is new for hitherto only commercially arbitrating tribunals) of a public debate and their influence on the future course of law-development - and OGEMID clearly helps here.
The TDM service - www.transnational-dispute-management.com - serves as the archive, but also the more formal, professional and sometimes academic companion to the OGEMID debate where the insights, comments, studies and information are kept and regularly published in a more permanent, formal and searchable way.
Joining OGEMID and Discounts
We offer institutional TDM subscribers the benefit of a related membership on OGEMID. Each subscribing company or organisation to TDM, is permitted to sign up 3 of its employees as participants in OGEMID, renewable annually if the subscription is renewed. OGEMID members, who registered at OGEMID before 1st january 2005, are eligible for a 15% discount on the subscription rates.
OGEL Special Feature on the Energy Charter Treaty
Also I'd like to take this opportunity to highlight the special feature on the Energy Charter Treaty of our TDM sister publication - Oil, Gas & Energy Law Intelligence (OGEL) - available at www.ogel.org. The table of contents of the ECT special is included in this issue of TDM, see the bibliographic section.