Does Arbitration Solve Conflicts? Determining the Impact of the Legalisation of International Territorial Disputes

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Prawer, Nadav (2017) Does Arbitration Solve Conflicts? Determining the Impact of the Legalisation of International Territorial Disputes. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


Mechanisms for resolving international conflicts are central to the maintenance of global stability and avoidance of conflict escalation. Whilst a range of methods of dispute resolution exist, comparatively little is known about the conditions in which binding dispute resolution is most useful, as measured by both effectiveness and efficiency. The transformation of disputes from political to legal frameworks has been heavily associated with high rates of resolution; however little is known of the causes or replicability of these results. In this thesis, I test the hypothesis that most arbitrations and adjudications in international territorial conflicts must be reconceptualised as conflict management attempts rather than resolution mechanisms. I show, using a combination of data analysis and research into historical records, that the existing paradigms for explaining and predicting national behaviours in selecting methods of dispute resolution are not supported by empirical assessment of the data, and that new, party- centric measures of efficiency and effectiveness for dispute resolution are needed. I further propose useful methods of maximising the appropriate use of arbitration, through predetermination of dispute resolution methods to be employed between parties and the reliance on massively multilateral treaties. I also analyse the use of arbitration in other settings within international disputes and show that the resolution of bilateral disputes over territory have only limited prospects for resolution using existing arbitration approaches and structures. As a result, I propose several conceptual changes to classic conflict resolution studies theory and practice. Firstly, I propose a renewed emphasis and clear distinction between conflict resolution, transformation and management, with each involving different skills and seeking different outcomes. Secondly, I propose that analysis of international conflict mechanisms incorporate broader metrics, including the benchmarking of difficulty of resolution of conflicts and a party- centric approach to evaluating costs of resolution processes. Thirdly, I propose new approaches to data-collection to allow an understanding of the ongoing changes in conflict intensity and nature when evaluating resolution methods and their relative success and usefulness.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1801 Law
Current > Division/Research > Graduate School of Business
Keywords arbitrations; adjudications; international territorial conflicts; conflict management; dispute resolution
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