Book Review: Felix Dasser - "Soft Law" in International Commercial Arbitration
Published 22 February 2022
The book "Soft Law" in International Commercial Arbitration of Felix Dasser follows the development of the so-called 'soft law' from its origins in public international law to international commercial arbitration (ICA), where the concept of 'soft law' is used today as a label for various instruments and phenomena, covering both procedural aspects and the applicable substantive law: model laws, arbitration rules, guidelines, the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts (UNIDROIT Principles), the lex mercatoria, and others.
The monograph presents three particularly well-known sets of guidelines by the International Bar Association (IBA) and discusses the pros and cons of 'soft law' instruments and their potential normativity. The analysis suggests that 'soft law' instruments are typically less well recognised in practice than is generally assumed. The author explains what such instruments can achieve and what minimum requirements they have to fulfil to at least aspire to some legitimacy. He argues ultimately that 'soft law' instruments can be very useful tools, but they do not carry any normativity.
Felix Dasser, "Soft Law" in International Commercial Arbitration, The Pocket Books of The Hague Academy of International Law / Les livres de poche de l'Académie de droit international de La Haye, Volume 44 (Martinus Nijhoff 2021), 300 pages, ISBN: 978-90-04-46289-2