International Commercial Arbitration


The Course in International Commercial Arbitration is the second course students take in the field of arbitration, and therefore assumes that students have knowledge of the fundamentals. The goal is to direct students to study and analyze more complex and current issues in international arbitration, such as the legal framework applicable to arbitration proceedings (including the relevance of the lex arbitri as a starting point for all things arbitration), the recognition of arbitration agreements, the various variations of the principle competence-competence and their importance, the arbintral procedure, issues of evidence, complex arbitrations involving multiple tiers, contracts, and parties, issues relating to the award, the set-aside of awards, and the recognition and enforcement of awards under the NY Convention, issues surrounding interim measures, etc. The course will also focus on relevant new topics such as third-party funding or the interaction between arbitration and technology.

General characterization





Responsible teacher



Weekly - 10

Total - 24

Teaching language



Not applicable


In Portuguese

AA. VV., Lei da Arbitragem Voluntária Anotada, 4rd Edition, Coimbra, Almedina, 2019

António Pedro Pinto Monteiro, Artur Flamínio da Silva e Daniela Mirante, Manual de Arbitragem, Almedina, 2019

Mariana França Gouveia, Curso de Resolução Alternativa de Litígios, Coimbra, Almedina, 3rd Edition - 2014 (reimp. 2020)

In English

Franco Ferrari, Friedrich Rosenfeld, International Commercial Arbitration: A Comparative Introduction, Elgar, 2021

André Pereira da Fonseca, Dário Moura Vicente, Mariana França Gouveia and Others (ed.), International Arbitration in Portugal, Wolters Kluwer, 2020


Teaching method

After a few introduction lectures to recall the most relevant concepts of arbitration, the method consists of presentation of the topics by the students and discussion among them.

Evaluation method

The students are assessed through: either an oral and written assignment (75%) and spontaneous participation in class (25%); or a mandatory final exam (100%)

Subject matter

Part I Defininig international commercial arbitration

1 Introduction

2 Arbitration

3 Commercial

4 International

5 Forms of arbitration


Part II The recognition of arbitration agreements

1 Introduction

2 The principle of presumptive validity of arbitration agreements

3 Subject matter that is capable of settlement by arbitration

4 Written arbitration agreement that is neither null and void, inoperative, nor incapable of being performed

5 Scope

6 Drafting arbitration clauses


PART III The principle of competence-competence

1 Introduction

2 Jurisdictional assessments by arbitral tribunals

3 Review powers by State courts at the pre-award stage

4 Review powers by state courts at the post-award stage

5 Limitations of review powers based on party autonomy


PART IV The initiation of arbitration proceedings and the constitution of the arbitral tribunal

1 Initiation of arbitration proceedings

2 Constitution of the arbitral tribunal

3 The independence and impartiality of arbitrators


PART V Procedure

1 Introduction

2 Mandatory provisions

3 Party agreement

4 Discretion of arbitrators


PART VI Evidence

1 Introduction

2 Documentary evidence

3 Witnesses

4 Experts

5 Assessment of evidence

6 Privileges

7 Court assistance in the taking of evidence


PART VII Complex arbitrations involving multiple tiers, contracts and parties

1 Introduction

2 Multiple tiers

3 Multiple contracts

4 Multiple parties


PART VIII The award

1 Introduction

2 The notion of an arbitral award

3 The law applicable to the merits

4 Cost decisions


PART IX The set-aside of arbitral awards

1 Introduction

2 Allocation of authority

3 Scope of review

4 Effects of set-aside

5 Conclusion


PART X The NY Convention: scope, formal requirements, procedure

1 Introduction to the New York Convention

2 The history of the New York Convention

3 The New York Convention as a source of international law

4 Scope of application

5 The procedure for enforcing arbitral awards

6 Formal requirements


PART XI The NY Convention: the duty to recognize and enforce arbitral awards

1 Generalia

2 Grounds related to jurisdiction

3 Grounds related to procedure

4 Grounds related to public policy

5 Grounds related to the status of the award under the law applicable to it

6 Waivers

7 Standard of review


PART XII The relevance of the post-award phase in the pre-award phase

1 Introduction

2 The choice of the dispute resolution mechanism

3 Drafting the arbitration clause

4 The initiation of the proceedings

5 The constitution of the arbitral tribunal

6 First steps after the constitution of the tribunal

7 Conduct of the proceedings

8 Drafting the award

9 Conclusion