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Nowadays, of course, arbitrators have no choice. They have to give

their reasons. Some rules of arbitration, such as these of the ICC, insist

that the arbitrators’ award must state the reasons on which it is based.

Other rules, such as these of the LCIA – and indeed, these contained in

the UNCITRAL Model Law – stipulate that the arbitral tribunal must

state the reasons upon which its award is based, unless the parties agree

otherwise.22

In international commercial arbitration, it is practically unknown

for the parties to agree otherwise. At the end of the arbitration, after the

exchange of pleadings and documents and submissions, the arbitrators are

required to give their decision in the form of a written award which sets

out the reasons on which it is based. The expectation is that this award

will be unanimous. If not, a majority decision – and sometimes the

decision of the presiding arbitrator alone – will generally suffice An

arbitrator who disagrees with the award will normally be expected to sign

it. At the same time, he or she will generally be free to write a dissenting

opinion, which may run to many pages – indeed, as it may be as long as

the award itself – and it may be highly critical of the award. There is no

22 There is no express requirement for a written award in the ICC Rules of Arbitration, but it is clear that this is required – for instance, from the provisions for signature of the Award; and, under Article 25(2) of the Rules, the Award must state the reasons on which it is based. The LCIA Arbitration Rules, in Article 26, expressly require an Award to be made in writing and to state the reasons on which it is based, unless the parties agree in writing to dispense with reasons. The UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules contain, in Article 32, a similar rule to that of the LCIA, as does the Model Law.

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