Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Maritime arbitration has a long history both in the United States, where it dates from the late 19th century, and in the Soviet Union, where the permanent arbitration body known as the Maritime Arbitration Commission (MAC or Commission) has existed since 1930. Although both countries have similar procedures for maritime arbitration, the history, ideology, and commercial goals of each country have created systems that differ markedly in approach and style. The American experience has fostered an ad hoc system where the parties establish arbitration panels as disputes arise and where the parties have almost unlimited discretion in choosing arbitrators and rules. By contrast, the Soviet system has established a permanent arbitration body with a limited choice of arbitrators and rules. The contrast between two such differing systems can shed considerable light on each of them. This Note will discuss the major aspects of Soviet maritime arbitration with reference to the relevant portions of the MAC's statute and Rules of Procedure. It will then consider American maritime arbitration with particular emphasis on arbitration in New York under the rules and procedures of the Society of Maritime Arbitrators (SMA or Society). Finally, this Note will compare and contrast the two systems of arbitration.