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Parallel Proceedings and the Doctrine of Lis Pendens in International

Commercial Arbitration

-Pranav Mundra

Arbitration is a popular dispute settlement method amongst commercial partners making

transnational business, as it provides the parties with a freedom without equivalence in
traditional court litigation. Business partners who choose to enter into an arbitration agreement
can agree on matters like applicable law, the appointment of arbitrators, and seat of arbitration,
thereby creating more balanced conditions between them than what would have been the case
in a court proceeding, taking place in one of the parties home country. In fact, the closure of
an arbitration agreement entails exclusive jurisdiction for the arbitral tribunal, accordingly
excluding jurisdiction for national courts to hear any dispute that may arise from the contract
between the parties. In theory, this means that national courts and arbitral tribunals will never
be simultaneously competent to hear a dispute. However, there are still a few instances where
a national court and an arbitral tribunal might both consider themselves to be simultaneously
competent to hear a dispute, and a situation of parallel proceedings might hence arise, would
one of the parties choose to initiate a concurrent proceeding.

For a party to an arbitration agreement, parallel proceedings might be both a possibility and a
threat, depending on which position the party takes in the proceedings. It is in the interest of
the parties to an arbitration agreement to be able to foresee when a parallel proceeding might
arise. The same holds true for arbitral tribunals and national courts, whom need to assess
whether or not a situation qualifies for the application of rules available to them to handle a
parallel proceeding, such as the doctrine of lis pendens.

However, the question of when a parallel proceeding is deemed to take place is not easily
answered. Instead, different jurisdictions take rather different approaches to the issue, and their
approach is in turn a reflection of the legal tradition they belong to, be it common law or civil
law. The doctrine of lis pendens plays an important role in both traditions in regard to parallel
proceedings, but it has been given different roles within each tradition as to how it prevents
parallel proceedings. But the fact that there is no general definition of lis pendens, less any
universally adopted standards for its application.

Research Questions:

Whether the concept of parallel proceedings benefits the parties or not?

Whether there exist any general definition of lis pendens?

Whether a uniform criteria is followed by each jurisdiction to deal with the issue of

Parallel Proceedings?

Research Objectives:

To know about the concept of Parallel Proceedings in ICA.

To know about Lis Pendens in International Commercial Arbitration.

To know about the procedure followed by courts to deal with the problem of Parallel


To know about the benefits and disadvantages of Parallel proceedings to both claimant

and defendant.