Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


S. I. Strong

First Page



For the purpose of this Article, an existing party is said to have a claim to join a third party into an arbitration as of right when (1) in the third party's absence, complete relief cannot be accorded among those already parties to the arbitration or (2) the third party asserts an interest relating to the subject of the arbitration and is so situated that the disposition of the arbitration in the third party's absence may (a) as a practical matter impair or impede the third party's ability to protect that interest or (b) leave any of the persons already parties to the arbitration subject to a substantial risk of incurring double, multiple, or otherwise inconsistent obligations by reason of the claimed interest. As in U.S. federal practice, "joinder" refers to the technique used by an existing party to bring a third party into an arbitration, while "intervention" refers to the device used by outsiders to make themselves parties to the arbitration.IS

The structure of this Article is straightforward. Part II discusses arbitration's contractual roots and the differences between arbitration and civil litigation. Part II also outlines some of the measures that have been used up until this time to facilitate multi-party arbitration. Although issues of joinder and intervention are becoming more important in international arbitration, until now most scholars and practitioners have focused on the problem of consolidation: whether arbitrators or courts should consolidate two existing arbitrations into one. In some ways, the theoretical debate on the propriety of consolidation illuminates the issue of joinder and intervention as of right and provides a helpful backdrop to the current discussion. For example, many commentators support consolidating arbitrations in order to increase efficiency, save costs, and avoid inconsistent awards. Because many of these rationales can also be used to justify intervention and joinder as of right, a brief discussion of consolidation and its pros and cons is useful. In addition, recent reforms in the area of consolidations may suggest ways in which the law on joinder and intervention might change.