THE ARBITRATION award rendered in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) arbitration Loewen Group International v. United States is remarkable in the contrasting reception it has received in the small community of arbitration practitioners and the American public at large. While the case was going on, non-governmental organizations, the media and political figures appeared acutely aware of the proceedings, mostly ranting that the case represented an ‘end run around the Constitution’ and a betrayal of American sovereignty to foreign corporate interests. Now that the award has been rendered and the case dismissed, such attention is conspicuously absent. There appears to be little jubilation, expressions of satisfaction, not even a short notice in the New York Times or other national press. Within the community of arbitration practitioners around the world, however, many quickly expressed disappointment and disagreement with the Laewen tribunal’s decision.

Many wondered how a complaint that the arbitrators...

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