International arbitration is rapidly becoming the premiere method for the resolution of international business disputes. Until recently, however, international arbitration has been ill-equipped to deal with pre-arbitral interim relief. Parties often need some form of interim relief or protective measures at the very beginning of a dispute, before an arbitral tribunal can be constituted, and where the only option is thus to resort to a competent state court. As set out below, however, there are circumstances where a party may be unwilling or unable to seek interim relief from judicial authorities. While arbitration is often touted as a rapid and efficient method of dispute resolution, the constitution of an arbitral tribunal can often take weeks, if not months, especially where a party is uncooperative or challenges an arbitrator appointment. In the meantime, a party may engage in obstruction or even the deliberate dissipation of assets to essentially render itself “judgment-proof”.
This article appeared in the 2012 edition of The International Comparative Legal Guide to: International Arbitration; published by Global Legal Group Ltd , London. (www.iclg.co.uk)