The feature that most attracts private parties from different states to referring their dispute to an arbitral tribunal is the flexibility of the procedure. However, the differences between arbitration and court litigation are not only procedural, but they concern the substance of the parties’ cases. This is because in the realm of international arbitration the law applicable to the merits of the case is determined according to other provisions than the statutory conflict of laws rules. Depending on the arbitration law of the seat, the entire private international law statute can be captured in a single provision – “absent the parties’ choice, the arbitral tribunal shall apply the rules of law which it determines to be appropriate”. It follows that arbitral tribunals, unlike state courts, are not bound by the conflict of laws rules of the forum. What’s more, the merits of a dispute submitted to arbitration may be governed not only by some national body of law (e.g. the Polish Civil Code) but also by a non-state, nonnational set of provisions – “rules of law” (e.g. the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts). The aim of this article is to analyze how the parties and tribunals may make use of their autonomy in determining the law applicable to a dispute. Furthermore it examines whether there are any limits thereto in light of the Rome I Regulation.
In light of contemporary circumstances, on the 30th anniversary of the Nicaragua judgment it is worth revisiting and considering again certain legal problems decided by – and raised by – the ICJ judgment. This article addresses the importance of the judgment in terms of international legal regulations on the use of force. First and foremost, the article examines the concept of armed attack based on the “gravity” criterion elaborated by the Court and the exercise of the right of self-defence. Moreover, the relationship between customary international law and treaty law, as well as forcible counter-measures and military actions against non-State actors are also discussed in the article. It is argued that the “gravity” criterion used by the ICJ seems controversial and, consequently, may limit the right of self-defence. On the other hand, however, the judgment established a strong barrier to the realization of individual political interests by militarily powerful States. This is the Nicaragua judgment’s long-lasting legacy. In this sense the judgment has stood the test of time.