Case Study on International Dispute Resolution Intervention

About ten years ago, Jayanth (Jay) Krishnan (Indiana-Bloomington) invited me to participate in a symposium of former students of Prof. Marc Galanter honoring his great scholarship.  I was delighted to accept the invitation because I don’t think that many of our DR colleagues know much about his work and I wanted to introduce it to those who aren’t familiar with it.  So I wrote a brief essay, An Appreciation of Marc Galanter’s Scholarship, which summarizes three of his publications that are especially relevant to DR.  These are his classic article, Why the “Haves” Come Out Ahead: Speculations on the Limits of Legal Change, a very insightful but much less well-known article, Case Congregations and Their Careers, and an excellent book, Lowering the Bar: Lawyer Jokes and Legal Culture.  You might take a look at my piece to get an introduction to his scholarship and perhaps read some of it.

Recently, Jay asked me to share with you this new article that he co-authored with Harold Koster, An Innovative Matrix for Dispute Resolution: The Dubai World Tribunal and the Global Insolvency Crisis.  Here’s the abstract followed by the roadmap.

“This study examines a legal experiment that occurred during the height of the global financial crisis.  As markets from the United States to Europe to the Global South shook, one country – the United Arab Emirates – found itself on the brink of economic collapse. In particular, in 2009 the U.A.E’s Emirate of Dubai was contemplating defaulting on $60 billion of debt it had amassed. Recognizing that such a default would have cataclysmic reverberations across the globe, Dubai’s governmental leaders turned to a small group of foreign lawyers, judges, accountants, and business consultants for assistance.  Working in a coordinated fashion, these external and internal actors soon imported into the Emirate a new regime of insolvency laws – and even an Anglo-American insolvency court – to help resolve Dubai’s financial troubles.  Drawing upon elite theory scholarship, as well as on primary and secondary sources of data, this study argues that traditional ways of analyzing foreign influences on a domestic landscape need to be refined and further nuanced so as to take into account such important comparative cases as Dubai.”

“Section II . . . set[s] forth the theoretical frame within which the paper will operate. Section III . . . then provide[s] the history of how such actors from overseas – namely in this case, foreign lawyers, foreign judges, and foreign financial advisors – worked with Dubai’s leaders to draft a decree that established an insolvency regime and accompanying adjudicatory tribunal that would serve as confidence-building measures for both international creditors and Dubai World.  Section IV . . . evaluate[s] how this judicial tribunal has functioned since its inception, as well as how its jurisdiction has expanded beyond what was originally conceived by the decree’s drafters.  Section V  . . . conclude[s] by discussing what the situation is in Dubai today, five years after the economic crisis hit.  As this concluding section . . . suggest[s], the cooperation between the external actors and Dubai’s government staved-off a disastrous outcome for the Emirate, the U.A.E, and international markets.  In sum, this story lends further support to the argument that external actors, given the right conditions (and especially in the present globalized climate), can indeed provide important tangible relief, not to mention legitimacy, to a state that finds itself in need of both.”

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