Arbitration has long been called a creature of contract, a dispute resolution mechanism that has no form or validity outside the four corners of the parties' arbitration agreement. Some feel, however, that it may be time to change this narrow interpretation of arbitration's function and scope, and nowhere is this need for reform more apparent than in the realm of multi-party international disputes. Arbitration has taken on an increasingly important role in international commercial transactions and has become the preferred dispute resolution mechanism in many types of transnational contracts. Although there are any number of reasons why this may be so, many commentators claim that the increase is the result of parties' desire to control the choice of forum; absent an arbitration clause, they might not be able to predict where and under which law any disputes under the contract might be resolved. Other experts claim that parties choose to arbitrate rather than litigate in order to avoid the potential bias of national courts. However, most practitioners and scholars attribute international arbitration's growing popularity to the ease with which international arbitral awards may be enforced. Most international awards are enforced via the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, known as the New York Convention, but awards may also be enforced under other conventions or bilateral treaties as well as under national law. In fact, enforcement of arbitral awards is far more certain and well-regulated than enforcement of judgments from domestic courts, which may be a difficult and risky business.
S. I. Strong, Intervention and Joinder As of Right in International Arbitration: An Infringement of Individual Contract Rights or A Proper Equitable Measure?, 31 Vand. J. Transnat'l L. 915 (1998)