Public and Private Law in the Global Adjudication System

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Friday, Feb. 15, 2008
9:00am - 4:45 p.m.
Duke University School of Law
Room 4047


At the turn of the twentieth century, Department of State Solicitor William L. Penfield listed "international arbitration" among "[t]he distinctive features of human progress in the nineteenth century."1 While noting that the acceptance of arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism had been slow, he remained hopeful. As he wrote:

If the paths of international peace lead through the open gateway of international arbitration, the problems to be solved in reaching the goal in view, are the most intensely practical, as they are the most fascinating problems of the statesmanship of the present and of the future. The visionary of yesterday is therefore the practical statesman of today. The foundation has been established by the Hague convention of July 29, 1899, for the pacific settlement of international disputes. The task remains to broaden the foundation and to build the superstructure. It is an intensely practical work, which time and experience will undoubtedly complete, as nearly as institutions, merely human, can be brought to perfection.2

Since then, the number of arbitral tribunals adjudicating international disputes has skyrocketed, and modern international relations have generated a sea of new international norms. What is the relationship between these private arbitral tribunals and both international and national courts? How are these new norms of international law incorporated in each forum?

This year's symposium, sponsored by Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law and the Center for International and Comparative Law, focuses on the emerging importance and impact of international arbitration as a venue for dispute settlement. The day long event will feature four panels, bringing together some of the foremost minds in these fields to discuss recent developments in public and private law in the global adjudication system of the twenty-first century.

1 William L. Penfield, International Arbitration, 1 AM. J. Int'l L. 330, 330 (1907).

2 Id. at 334.