4(2) Mizan Law Rev. THE ROLE OF ETHIOPIAN COURTS IN COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION 299
hostility between courts and arbitration was, inter alia, the belief that arbitration
goes against public policy.8
Amidst this judicial attitude, however, the use and advantage of arbitration
gained gradual ascendancy. Crucially, judicial prejudice against commercial
arbitration has gradually faded away as the business sector “needed greater
speed and flexibility for the settlement of their disputes than that provided by
courts.”9 Moreover, neutral venues in the form of international arbitral tribunals
have been in demand as international trade grew dramatically after World War
II.10 This in turn led to gradual judicial accommodation of arbitration.
The traditional scepticism of arbitration now appears to have given way to
remarkable judicial restraint. Yet, states have always kept arbitration under a
certain level of court control. The desirability of a level of judicial assistance to
and control over arbitration is now well understood.11 Nonetheless, a
comparative analysis of national rules on commercial arbitration would reveal
that the level of interaction between courts and arbitral tribunals varies from
jurisdiction to jurisdiction.12
The most prevailing international trend confines judicial intervention to a
minimum.13 This minimalist approach is represented by the United Nations
Commission of International Trade Law Model Law on International
Commercial Arbitration (UNCITRAL Model Law) and other comparable
national arbitration laws. Aspects of this approach include the enforcement of
arbitration agreements, the recognition of the principles of severability and
competence-competence (Kompetenze-Kompetenze), the upholding of the
finality of arbitral awards subject to certain fairness standards, the relative
autonomy of arbitration from judicial intervention during the arbitral
proceeding, and the enforcement of arbitral awards. Whereas, the maximalist
approach is characterised by, for instance, the subjection of arbitral awards to
8 In the common law jurisdictions, for example, arbitration was perceived to be against
public policy for it “ousted otherwise competent courts of their jurisdiction”; see
Martinez-Fraga, p. 7.
9 Zekos, supra n. 5, pp. 16-20.
10 Craig, W. (1995) “Some Trends and Developments in the Laws and Practice of
International Commercial Arbitration,” Texas International Law Journal, (30), p. 2
11See generally discussions under section 4 infra.
12 See generally Zekos, supra n. 5 for an excellent comparative analysis of the role of
English, US, Greek and Belgian courts in commercial arbitration.
13 See, e.g., Gu, W. (2009-2010) “Judicial Review Over Arbitration in China: Assessing
the Extent of the Latest Pro-Arbitration Move by the Supreme People’s Court in the
People’s Republic of China”, Wisconsin International Law Journal, (27), pp. 225-231;
Kröll, supra n. 1, p.78.