Every year I re-evaluate existing e-resources for researching international commercial arbitration law. Every year, I’m not entirely satisfied. KluwerArbtration seems to provide the best, most comprehensive accesss to resources, and students, faculty, librarians, and practitioners mention it most. But every year, I double-check. Does KluwerArbitration pass the Vis Moot test?
The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot is an annual competition open to law students worldwide. Over 250 law schools participate. “The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot is a competition for law students. Students from all countries are eligible. The Moot involves a dispute arising out of a contract of sale between two countries that are party to the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. The contract provides that any dispute that might arise is to be settled by arbitration in Danubia, a country that has enacted the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration and is a party to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. The arbitral rules to be applied rotate yearly among the arbitration rules of co-sponsors of the Moot.”
The Problem is distributed in October. Participating students arguing for the claimant must submit their memoranda in December, and the students arguing for respondent must submit their memoranda in February. Oral arguments take place in Vienna, Austria in April.
This year, I decided to test several databases by determining how many of the legal authorities cited in available Vis Moot memoranda researchers can find in each database.
A review of the memoranda from 1997-2013 indicated a focus on doctrine/commentary (books and journal articles), treaties, conventions, and rules over case-law and arbitral awards. URLs listed in the briefs indicated that most of the students used the Albert H. Kritzer CISG Database at Pace for jurisprudence; less often, the students used Global Sales Law (home of the CISG-online.ch database), KluwerArbitration, Yearbook Commercial Arbitration, Westlaw, and a variety of other websites and databases. The conventions, rules, and trade practice materials seemed to come from the institutional sites for the most part. Which left commentaries. Below I list the books most frequently cited (by my informal count) as legal authorities, and journals from whence most of the cited articles came:
- American Review of International Arbitration
- Arbitration International
- Dispute Resolution Journal
- ICC International Court of Arbitration Bulletin
- International Arbitration Law Review
- International Business Law Journal
- Journal of International Arbitration
- Journal of Law and Commerce
- Nordic Journal of Commercial Law
- Revue de l’arbitrage
- Review of the Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods
- Vindobona Journal of International Commercial Law and Arbitration
- Achilles. Kommentar zum UN-Kaufrechtsübereinkommen (CISG).
- Andersen/Schroeter. Sharing International Commercial Law across National Boundaries: Festschrift for Albert H. Kritzer on the Occasion of His Eightieth Birthday.
- Audit. La vente international de marchandises: convention des Nations-Unies du 11 avril 1980.
- Berger. International Economic Arbitration.
- Bernstein/Lookofsky. Understanding the CISG in Europe.
- Bianca/Bonell. Commentary on the International Sales Law: The Vienna Sales Convention.
- Born. International Commercial Arbitration.
- Caemmerer/Schlechtriem. Kommentar zum Einheitlichen UN-Kaufrecht: das Übereinkommen der Vereinten Nationen über Verträge über den internationalen Warenkauf, CISG-Kommentar.
- Craig/Park/Paulsson. International Chamber of Commerce Arbitration.
- Derains/Schwartz. Guide to the ICC Rules of Arbitration.
- Enderlein/Maskow. International Sales Law
- Enderlein/Maskow/Strohbach. Internationales Kaufrecht.
- Gaillard/Savage. Fouchard, Gaillard, Goldman on International Commercial Arbitration.
- Herber/Czerwenka. Internationales Kaufrecht.
- Heuzé. La vente international de marchandises: droit uniforme.
- Holtzmann/Neuhaus. A Guide to the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration: Legislative History and Commentary.
- Honnold. Documentary History of the Uniform Law for International Sales.
- Honnold. Uniform Law for International Sales under the 1980 United Nations Convention.
- Honsell. Kommentar zum UN-Kaufrecht: Übereinkommen der Vereinten Nationen über Verträge über den internationalen Warenkauf (CISG).
- Huber/Mullis. The CISG: A New Textbook for Students and Practitioners.
- Husslein-Stich. Das UNCITRAL-Modellgesetz über die internationale Handelsschiedsgerichtsbarkeit.
- Karollus. UN-Kaufrecht.
- Kritzer. Guide to Practical Applications of the of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods.
- Lew/Mistelis/Kröll. Comparative International Commercial Arbitration.
- Lionnet. Handbuch der internationalen und nationalen Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit.
- Lookofsky. Understanding the CISG.
- Lookofsky, The 1980 United Nations Convention on Contracts for the Sale of Goods (International Encyclopaedia of Laws –Contracts).
- Neumayer/Ming. La Convention de Vienne sur les contrats de vente internationale de marchandises: commentaire.
- Piltz. Internationales Kaufrecht: Das UN-Kaufrecht in praxisorientierter Darstellung.
- Poudret/Besson. Comparative Law of International Arbitration.
- Redfern/Hunter/Blackaby/Partasides. Law and Practice of International Commercial Arbitration.
- Reinhart. UN-Kaufrecht: Kommentar zum Übereinkommen der Vereinten Nationen vom 11. April 1980 über Verträge über den Internationalen Warenkauf.
- Schlechtriem. Internationales UN-Kaufrecht.
- Schlechtriem/Butler. UN Law on International Sales: The UN Convention on the International Sale of Goods.
- Schlechtriem/Schwenzer. Commentary on the UN Convention on the International Sale of Goods
KluwerArbitration includes several of the ICA journals and works by Born, Derains, Gaillard, Kröll, Lew, Mistelis, and Redfern, and features some of the new books on international commercial arbitration that are being cited in recent Vis Moot memoranda. Juris’ ArbitrationLaw database has a couple of less frequently-cited works such as Andersen/Francesco/Zeller’s A Practitioner’s Guide to the CISG (2010) and Newman/Hill, Leading Arbitrators’ Guide to International Arbitration (2d ed. 2008).
LexisAdvance also includes Newman/Hill, as well as Gaillard/Banifatemi, Precedent in International Arbitration, Kolkey/Chernick/Neal, Practitioner’s Handbook on International Arbitration and Mediation, Naón/Mason, International Commercial Arbitration Practice: 21st Century Perspectives, and Ashford, Handbook on International Commercial Arbitration. In terms of journals, LexisAdvance include only a few of the oft-cited, plus also Mealey’s International Arbitration Report, Review of Arbitration in Central and Eastern Europe, and European International Arbitration Review.
WestlawNext has several of the specialized ICA journals, plus Redfern/Hunter, Poudret/Besson (in English and in French – Droit comparé de l’arbitrage international (2002)), and Bühler/Webster, Handbook of ICC Arbitration. The Pace CISG Database’s Online Collection of Scholarly Works archives 1577 full texts of law journal articles and books. It would take a more in-depth review to determine how many of the most frequently cited legal authorities in Vis Moot memoranda are reproduced therein. Similarly with Transnational Dispute Management (TDM).
Is KluwerArbitration the best ICA database? Applying the Vis Moot test, KluwerArbitration seems better than the other subscription databases I checked because KluwerArbitration includes more of the frequently-cited commentaries in the memoranda lists of authorities from the past 15 years, in addition to the primary law. However, the free Pace CISG Database, plus a print collection of the core commentaries, seems to provide most resources used in Vis Moot research.