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Is there anything amiss with Polish arbitrators? Even Polish business people involved in international commercial arbitration choose them as a last resort. 

I have analysed the cases coming before the Arbitration Court of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris from this perspective. True enough, in 2012 it considered cases involving 22 entities from Poland, and Polish arbitrators were chosen only on seven occasions; what’s more, of these seven nominations, three were on a substitution basis. In other words, it was only in four instances that Polish parties in arbitration proceedings voluntarily and deliberately chose Polish arbitrators.

Prof Pierre Lalive, the famous Swiss arbitrator, used to say that, apart from intelligence and common sense, a good arbitrator should also have a sense of humour. Is this what’s missing? 

We have excellent arbitrators, but Polish arbitration is poorly promoted abroad. It is hard to meet a Polish arbitrator at international conferences, we don’t publish much. Our intellectual potential does not make itself easy to see. When making their choice of arbitrator, the parties opt for those who have a good reputation, prestige, and acclaim in international circles. I assume that they don’t choose Poles because they’re afraid that they may not be strong enough to make their points in a convincing manner.

And which arbitrators have the strongest brand? Who is most often nominated by businesses? 

Traditionally, the most frequent choice is of arbitrators from Switzerland. They are perceived as being neutral. After the Swiss, there are the French, the English, and the Austrians, i.e. arbitrators from countries in which commercial arbitration is developing vigorously.