Study Aims to Find the Most Influential Arbitrator in the World

AI is not alone in the quest to bring more data-driven analysis to arbitrator assessments. In a recent study published in the Global Arbitration Review, Rishab Gupta and Katrina Limond from Allen & Overy used citation analysis to measure arbitrator influence in investment treaty arbitration. The study aims at providing added information during a critical phase of international arbitration – selection of an arbitrator. Given the inefficiencies associated with this phase of arbitration, the article points towards how word of mouth was the most commonly used approach to selection; an approach which could be both unreliable as well as incomplete.

The article looks to add information to this subjective process and identifies one neutral attribute – influence of an arbitrator, among many others to generate information that can be used for more efficient and informed selection decisions. Gupta and Limond use two quantifiable proxies to measure influence: the number of citations of decisions issued by the arbitrators; and the number of appointments received by the arbitrators.


Gabrielle Kaufmann Kohler

– the most influential arbitrator in the world

The study analyses 664 arbitral decisions from 328 investment treaty arbitration whose dates range from 1990 up to 2015 that accounted for a cumulative of 5516 citations in total.

The authors present a number of rankings based on different attributes related to citations counts, each changing the outcome of the rank. Variables determining rankings based on citations in the article include: total number of citations, self-citations and the length of practice years. Similarly, the second measure – number of appointments uses 328 different cases that

involves 352 different arbitrators. A ranking consisting of an overall number of appointments followed by rankings based on polarization is presented. All these tables account for what the authors call the AI Index – Arbitrator Influence Index which measures the “broader impact” of an arbitrator’s work. They define the index as “an arbitrator has an AI index of n if n of his or her decisions issued in investment treaty arbitrations have at least n citations” which is derived from the H-index commonly used in academia. The AI Index lists Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler as the most influential arbitrator in investment treaty arbitrations overall followed closely by Francisco Orrego Vicuña.

The article is another contribution to the ongoing discussions about the need of better information in arbitrator selection worldwide, an issue that Arbitrator Intelligence was founded to address. It also deserves mention that several of the most influential arbitrators identified—Charles N. Brower, Grabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler and Albert Jan van den Berg—are all on Arbitrator Intelligence’s Board of Advisors.

You can view the full article here.