On Monday, September 22, Arbitrator Intelligence officially launches! This blog post gives some basic background about the project, explains how to use the site, and asks for your help in fulfilling our “Wish List.” When you are done reading, visit the site here!

The goal of Arbitrator Intelligence is to promote transparency, fairness, and accountability in the selection of international arbitrators by increasing and equalizing access to critical information about arbitrators and their decision making. Arbitrator Intelligence is currently in a preliminary start-up phase, organized around a Pilot Project.

The Pilot Project

While later phases of Arbitrator Intelligence will develop a number of different sources of information about arbitrators, the Pilot Project focuses on international arbitral awards. The specific objective of the Pilot Project is to collect as many awards as possible from its launch through January 14, 2014.

To measure our success, we have broken this goal into two parts. First, we aim to collect 100 previously unpublished awards, meaning awards that have not been widely disseminated or are not otherwise generally available to the international arbitration community. Second, we are seeking to amass as many awards as possible so that we can develop research tools for later phases of Arbitrator Intelligence.

Contributing Awards

The Arbitrator Intelligence site has been designed to make finding and submitting Awards easy and, yes, fun! There are two ways to contribute awards.

The first way is simply to upload any award you may have collecting dust on your office shelves, cluttering your office drawers, or taking up space on your computer.

The second way more closely resembles a global treasure hunt. The site includes an interactive, color-coded Map. For each jurisdiction that is shaded, we have information about court cases in which a party has sought annulment, recognition and enforcement of an award, and the like. The court records for these cases are likely to contain awards. Members can use the map to identify court cases to “mine” their files and records for arbitral awards.

When awards are contributed for each jurisdiction on the Map, that jurisdiction will “light up.” Altogether, we have indicated over 1200 court cases throughout the world that might contain an award—we need your help to track down these awards!

Building this Map also remains a work in progress. So, in addition to contributing awards, Members can also use a button on the site to provide additional information about court cases that they know about, but are not yet on the Map.

Membership & Prizes

Only registered Members can contribute awards. Becoming a Member is free and straightforward. To make being a Member and contributing an award even more rewarding, we have a number of wonderful prizes generously donated from our many supporters.

Every two weeks, we will draw two names from the pool of people who became Members during that period (just by becoming a Member, you get entered to win!) and who contributed awards during that period. At the end of the Pilot Project on January 14, 2015, all of the entries throughout the Pilot will go back into the jar for a final random drawing for the Sweepstakes Super Prize—a 6-month subscription to LexisNexis’ online research service. This means that the more awards you contribute during the duration of the Pilot Project, the greater your chances of winning the Super Prize.

We are also giving away a Grand Prize for the “Best Tale About an Award”—for those Members with especially creative, informative, or expository inclinations. Members are invited to share useful tips, colorful anecdotes, or just plain interesting stories about your experiences finding an Award, or other aspects about a contributed award. We hope that these stories will not only entertain, but also aid and inspire others to contribute awards. Members will be able to vote for the winning Best Tale (rules are on the site) and the Grand Prize for the winner couldn’t be better: a full three-volume set of the second edition of Gary Born’s International Commercial Arbitration treatise, signed and personally addressed to the winner!

Final Points

Before closing this overview of how the site works, it is important to note a few features of Arbitrator Intelligence and the Pilot Project. First, Arbitrator Intelligence is a not-for-profit initiative. Second, Awards contributed during the Pilot Project will not be published at this time. Before any awards are made publicly available in later phases of Arbitrator Intelligence, we will work with parties to the awards to allow them an opportunity to indicate sensitive information that may need to be redacted prior to publication. Third, Awards collected in the Pilot Project will be integrated into development of the larger framework of Arbitrator Intelligence. Details about future phases of Arbitrator Intelligence will be announced here and on the site, and we will solicit your input and ideas. So stay tuned!

* * *

In launching Arbitrator Intelligence, we are filled with optimism about its potential success, but recognize that it will only be a success with your support. For these reasons, we have developed a “Wish List” for the project.

THE OFFICIAL ARBITRATOR INTELLIGENCE “WISH LIST”

• First and foremost, for the Pilot Project, we hope that thousands of arbitration specialists from around the world become Members and contribute awards to help us meet our goals and demonstrate the power of collective cooperation.

• To that end, we hope people will help spread the word about Arbitrator Intelligence by
– Tweeting about it,
– “Liking” it on Facebook,
– Giving it a shout-out at arbitration conferences and in arbitration online discussions,
– Casually working it into cocktail party and coffee break conversations wherever arbitration specialists are gathered.

• We especially hope that members of the arbitration community from newer, but increasingly-important jurisdictions (outside the traditional North American and European hubs) will contribute to increase the availability of information about what is happening in these jurisdictions.

• We hope many Members will share interesting and entertaining stories about Awards, making for intense competition for the Grand Prize of Gary Born’s signed treatise.

• In future phases of Arbitrator Intelligence, we hope that increased information about their skills and performance will help younger, newer, and more diverse arbitrators establish their reputations.

• We hope in-house counsel and Parties who use international arbitration will see Arbitrator Intelligence as a great resource that they themselves can build.

• We hope arbitral institutions will see Arbitrator Intelligence as an opportunity for inter-institutional cooperation to build a resource that no single institution could build on its own.

• We hope established international arbitrators will participate in Arbitrator Intelligence as an opportunity to reaffirm their contributions to, and re-enforce the legitimacy of, international arbitration.

• We hope all who visit Arbitrator Intelligence appreciate the generous contributions of our wonderful supporters and Special Advisors, without whose help, this project would not be possible!

• We hope Members will share with us ideas and advice about how to make the site better for the Pilot Project and, going forward, for the more ambitious aspirations of Arbitrator Intelligence.

• Catherine not-so-secretly hopes that people interested in Arbitrator Intelligence will read her soon-to-be-in-print book, Ethics in International Arbitration, to learn more in Chapter 8 about the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings for Arbitrator Intelligence.

• Most importantly, we hope that Members of the international arbitration community will regard contributing to Arbitrator Intelligence as a means of building a brighter, fairer and more user-friendly future for international arbitration.

Now, come visit arbitratorintelligence.org!

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