Arthur Dong and Darren Mayberry

Machiavelli infamously instructs his Prince that “one ought to be both feared and loved, but as it is difficult for the two to go together, it is much safer to be feared than loved.”[1] Machiavelli ultimately wanted several disputes resolved, and Renaissance Italy thereby united. The Prague Rules pertain to a modern form of dispute resolution directed at far more tractable commercial disputes. It offers methods to run an arbitration on the cheap, a priority when the quantum in dispute remains low. The Prague Rules would blame Anglo-American, or common law, traditions for the prevalent costliness and delay of present-day commercial arbitration. The Prague Rules downplay their straightforward budget utility for modest-dollar disputes. The Prague Rules calculatingly courts controversy because proponents understand all too well that its cost-cutting devices will meet an unpopular and unloving reception.

This post introduces the Prague Rules and summarizes the highlights of its provocative Preamble. It looks at the origin of the Rules. This post then visits criticism of the Prague Rules. It then places the Prague Rules in their proper context. The Rules are compared alongside institutional efforts at efficiency. This post concludes with two observations. Established arbitration procedure need not fear the Prague Rules. The IBA Rules shall remain beloved.


Authored by Arthur Dong <>, Darren Mayberry <> at AnJie Law Firm