Bona fide problem in the activity of international judges

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Author: Vladislav Tolstykh

DOI: 10.21128/2226-2059-2021-1-57-80

Keywords: arbitration agreement; bad faith; international arbitration; international judges; international jurisdiction; international law; violation of an international treaty


The article examines the forms of bad faith of international judges, the possibilities of counteracting manifestations of bad faith and the factors that stimulate bad faith. Among the first, there are forms related to the appointment of arbitrators (moonlighting, revolving door, issue conflict, etc.), and forms related to the process itself (ex parte communication, pressure on other judges, involving an assistant to perform the work of a judge, etc.). The article provides specific examples of bad faith and analyzes the positions of the courts and doctrine. The focus is on manifestations of bad faith in international investment arbitration, the reform of which is now on the UNCITRAL agenda. The author describes institutional, organizational, procedural and conceptual measures to counteract bad faith of international judges; special attention is paid to the latter, which imply the consolidation of new procedural and substantive concepts, for example, the concept of the presumption of guilt of judges, the concept of the international judicial decision as a sui generis agreement, etc. The author also calls for debates about philosophical, sociological, political, historical and economic aspects of international justice based on the recognition of the fact that it is not a static institution, but, on the contrary, is undergoing profound transformations (like the world as a whole). In conclusion, the author fixes the factors that stimulate bad faith: related to the general shortcomings of international law; associated with its dependence on the political environment; concerning the processes taking place within the judicial corporation; and, finally, concerning the transition of our civilization to the stage of postmodernity, which presupposes distrust in relation to metanarratives. The latter tendency is defined as general, objective and natural; the crisis of international justice in this regard is only one aspect of the general crisis of law and, at the same time, one of its evidence.

About the author: Vladislav Tolstykh – Doctor of Sciences in Law, Scientific Director of the Higher School of Law of the Kutafin Moscow State Law University, leading researcher at the Institute of Philosophy and Law of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Tolstykh V. (2021) Problema bona fide v deyatel'nosti mezhdunarodnykh sudey [Bona fide problem in the activity of international judges]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, vol.11, no.1, pp.57–80. (In Russian).


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