International commercial arbitration purports to be the primary mean for settling international disputes of a business nature. Because of its very structure, this procedure happens across borders and, needlessly to say, cultures.

The debate about culture in this field has, however, generally adopted a fairly narrow approach, and is generally limited to issues relating to clashes of different procedural styles and models (e.g. Common Law and Civil Law), studies about the arbitration community itself (a still relatively small and tightly-knit group of professionals), or to the arbitration-friendliness of a given country.

Yet, the role of culture in international commercial arbitration should be addressed from a much broader perspective. This talk intends to offer some perspective about questions involving the cultural identity of arbitrators, the application of norms and rules originated in a specific cultural context, and the management of cultural stereotypes in international commercial arbitration.


Giorgio Fabio Colombo (J.D. equivalent, Università Commerciale “Luigi Bocconi”, Milan, 2003; Ph.D., University of Macerata, 2009) is presently Associate Professor of Law at the Graduate School of Law of Nagoya University (Japan), where he is in charge of Comparative private law, Law and Anthropology and International commercial arbitration. He was a visiting researcher at Ritsumeikan University (Kyoto); Adjunct (and later Visiting) Professor of Japanese Law at “Ca’ Foscari” University of Venice, Italy; Research fellow of Comparative law at the University of Pavia; Visiting Professor of Japanese Law at the University of Palermo. His research focuses on ADR, Arbitration, Private comparative law, Law and literature, and legal cultures. He is member of several academic associations, as well as founding member of the Nichi-I Hikakuhō Kenkyūkai (Japanese-Italian Association for Comparative Law). He is also admitted to the Bar of Milan (Italy) since 2006, and enrolled with the list of Mediation instructors with the Italian Ministry of Justice.