Cultural Differences - What are your thoughts?


What are cultural differences that impact on ethics in international arbitrations?

Please provide your thoughts/comments below?


What an interesting question. Certainly there are cultural differences that may impact testifying. One I have seen is the reluctance of women from many countries to speak out against a male.
To carry the point further, in a theocratic country, it seems to me that an arbitrator might tend to (or even be expected to) discount testimony from a witness having a different religion. If that were to happen, I would call it unethical.

Understanding cultural differences maybe very helpful to understanding and judging the ethical behavior of the parties. However, as arbitrators we are bound by the agreement of the parties and our task is to interpret the relevant agreement (s) in accordance with our understanding of the custom, practice and the applicable law. While we maybe able to give some consideration for the cultural differences and their impact on the parties behavior I doubt that we should carry our understanding so far as to excuse the culprit. The ethical standards are almost universal and their applications should be uniform regardless.

In some cultures the making of payments to "grease" transactions is considered appropriate and usual. Americans doing business in such locales must resist such practices lest they run afoul of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. How these different perspectives may be dealt with in international arbitration is a sensitive and complicated matter.

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This page contains a single entry by Jeffrey Zaino published on January 31, 2017 9:30 AM.

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