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Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

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Volume 36, Issue 4


Balancing neutrality and partiality in arbitration: discursive tensions in separate opinions

Ruth Breeze
Published Online: 2016-06-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2016-0017


Although arbitration is increasingly being used to settle important disputes, particularly on an international level, little attention has focused on the language used by arbitrators. This article contains a qualitative analysis of the discursive moves and resources used in separate (dissenting and concurring) opinions published on the website of the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes from 1987 to 2013. Arbitrators’ discursive practices in this forum are analyzed, with a particular focus on the tensions that arise between the need to sustain the arbitral system and maintain professional relations, on the one hand, and the equally pressing need to display commitment to the losing party’s cause, on the other. These tensions have parallels in other areas of legal practice and professional life, and can be understood as part of the way power systems operate and replicate through discourse.

Keywords: alternative dispute resolution; arbitration; legal discourse; professional discourse; genre


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About the article

Ruth Breeze

Ruth Breeze is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Navarra, Spain, and is currently engaged in several research projects on discourse analysis and professional languages in the university’s Instituto Cultura y Sociedad. Her recent books include Corporate Discourse (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015) and the coedited volume Interpersonality in Legal Genres (Peter Lang, 2014).

Published Online: 2016-06-21

Published in Print: 2016-07-01

Citation Information: Text & Talk, Volume 36, Issue 4, Pages 363–389, ISSN (Online) 1860-7349, ISSN (Print) 1860-7330, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2016-0017.

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