In times of an ever-increasing complexity of international arbitration, few authors dare to start the journey of writing a treatise of more than 1,000 pages, covering the whole topic of international arbitration – and thereby not limit themselves to an academic description but even with the (achieved) goal of providing practical advice for the daily work of an arbitration lrractitioner. Not all of those who dared should have done so. Sundra Rajoo is one of the very few who have dared to start thejourney and have reached the goal.
Datuk Professor Sundra Rajoo is the Director of the I(uala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (KLRCA). Listing his many roles and functions in the world of inte rnational arbitration could easily fill the space assigned for this book review. suffice it to only highlight that he is also a Chartered A¡bitrator with more than 200 appointments behind him.
Thirteen years have passed since the first edition of Sundra Rajoo’s Zøzu, Practice and Pt’ocedure of Arbitrationwas published in 2003. While this book is by no means limited to the legal situation in Malaysia, the latter serves as a kind of blueprint for the author. Howeve¡ within two years of the publication of the first edition, the UNCITRAL Model Law was enactecl in Malaysia (2005) and, subsequently, amended in 2011. Thus, rhe first edition could not merely be updated, but it was necessary to rethink, rewrite and expand the previous text. Sundra Rajoo secured three special contributors to assist him in this process, but it is obvious that the whole text speaks with one voice. \t\4rile the book has a clear focus on Malaysia, it may also be used as a reference for international arbitration from the perspective of a moclel law regime as, indeed, planned by the author (p 7). The book also examines institutional arbitration under the auspices of the KLRCA. Most probably, a malpractice case against an arbitration practitioner who participates in a KLRCA arbitration without consulting the respective chapters of this text
would be easy to establish. The table of cases referenced in this book spreads over almost 90 pages and covers even some cases from civil jurisdictions such as Austria, Germany and Finland. The main focus, howeve¡ is not surprisingly on case lar’v fiom common law jurisdictions (with a welcome Asian focus).
After settinø the groundwork in the first divisions of his book, where he discusses the general framework of arbitration, arbitration agreements and their breaches, as well as the delicate interplay between arbitral proceedings and state court proceedings, the prolific text takes the reader through the lifespan of an entire arbitral proceeding from the commencement of arbitration (chapter 5) until the enforcement and recognition of arbitral awards (chapter 48). Chapters on specialty areas such as investment arbitration, sports arbitration and maritime arbitration follow. In such a sea of information, the author is a very reliable guide who does not miss the crucial point. With respect to the novel EU idea of creating a permanent multilateral investment court, he quite correctly sees ‘many questions left unanswered’ but also refers to this idea as (diplomatic or slightly enthusiastic?) ‘a fresh perspective’ (page 871). In particular, this reviewer was pleased to see a very concise definition of the rules of natural justice (page 380) and reference to carious ethical issues, and appreciated the various practical tips throughout the text.
This reviewer was delighted to see that in chapter 30 Sundra Rajoo deals with “Representation in Arbitrations,” a topic often neglected or simply reduced to objections against the IBA Guidelines on Party Representations in International Arbitration and other initiatives to allegedly meddle with the work of counsel in international arbitration.
Could any further edition still be improved? While Professor Philip Yang praises the book in his foreword as ‘extremely user-friendly in the many ways’ (p iv), this reviewer would agree but would also recommend considerably expanding the index of only 16 pages, where the choice of keywords under ‘F’, whoever searched for where the author discusses the infamous ‘group of companies’ doctrine finds this keyword only on the last page of the index under ‘third parties’. The way Sundra Rajoo deals with this keyword on page 136 is a good example for the book’s profile. After a one-sentence definition of the ‘group of company’ doctrine’ (which might not be shared by everyone, including this reviewer), he points to the leading Dow Chemical case, mentions that this doctrine has been expressly rejected in England, and concludes that it is unlikely that it will be applied in Malaysia. Whoever wants to rely on this doctrine will be happy to have Gary Born’s International Commercial Arbitration magnum opus at hand, where under ‘group of companies’ doctrine’ in the 62-page index they will find that there is more to add to the position of England and (probably) Malaysia. However, perhaps Sundra Rajoo’s approach to not talk too much about this dubious doctrine is the better one.
The book comes with some quite useful appendices, in particular relating to arbitration in Malaysia and under KLRCA Arbitration Rules (revised 2013) and KLRCA i-arbitration Rules (revised 2013), but also digging up some treasures from the work of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in putting together all kinds of practice guidelines. Honestly, are all experienced arbitration practitioners aware of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators’ Practice Guidelines for Apþlicat’ions for security for costs (last revised 30 September 2075), which may be relevant for anyone who is involved in an arbitration where the ability or willingness of one parry to satisfy adverse awards might be an issue?
In conclusion, this is an extremely valuable text from one of the leading homegrown arbitration experts of Asia. Although a weighty tome, it is easy to read and easy to understand, for beginners in arbitration and seasoned practitioners alike. The text is also an extremely valuable supplement for the international practitioner who needs a wider array of reasonable answers – and opinions! – on tricky questions. At the very least this reviewer treasures the addition of a strong and melodious Malaysian voice to the choir of established voices (who often share what is described as the Western approach to international arbitration).
The leading contemporaneous English philosopher and rock’n’roll survivor Keith Richards once supposedly said ‘everybody’s got a different way of telling a story – and has different stories to tell’; Professor Rajoo’s second edition of Law, Practice and Procedure of Arbitration tells a story of the peaks and valleys in the world of international arbitration and shares experiences which provide readers with unique and helpful insights.
Stephan Wilske Gleiss Lutz,