International commercial arbitration in Laos, Thailand and Vietnam : comparative perspectives in the light of the UNCITRAL model law, and the reference to the arbitration laws of England and People's Republic of China
The development of markets and indeed the 1997 financial crisis in the South East Asia region led to the increase of international disputes and the emergence of international commercial arbitration as the preferred settlement of disputes mechanism. One can observe a "cultural" difference in the way developed and developing countries approach the resolution of disputes: while the state controlled judicial authority is essential in the developing countries, developed countries opt for flexible and non-judicial settlement. Foreign investors have exercise pressure for the launch of international commercial arbitration in the countries where they invest. This thesis constitutes a survey of the international commercial arbitration regimes in Laos, Thailand and Vietnam in the light of the UNCITRAL Model Law and the arbitration systems of the United Kingdom, the United States, and China. It provides guidance to legislators in their regulatory efforts and intends to assist local courts and judges in their developing an arbitration culture. Further it will be useful to businesspersons with economic activity in South East Asia. The paramount consideration is to bridge the gap between developed and developing arbitration systems. Chapters One and Two highlight the importance and provide for a definition of party autonomy in international commercial arbitration. The theoretical background and the practice in each jurisdiction in question are discussed and the advantages of arbitration in comparison with litigation are presented. Chapter Three focuses on arbitration agreement. Three stages regarding the issue of validity of such agreements are distinguished. Chapter Four looks at the selection of arbitrators and the criteria for such a choice. Chapter Five deals with arbitral procedure; both ad hoc and institutional arbitration in the jurisdictions in question is discussed. Chapter Six addresses choice of law issues. Particular attention is paid on choice of substantive law and on lex arbitri. The thesis finally make critically evaluates the arbitration systems in Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and assesses their compatibility with the Model Law and the international standards set by the UK and the US practices. References are also made to the Chinese multi-jurisdictional arbitration system, but are rather limited.