A Word from the Editors

The Czech Yearbooks Project aims to create an open forum for the presentation and exchange of a variety of legal perspectives of authors from Central and Eastern Europe in a manner easily accessible to readers worldwide.Prof. Alexander J. Bělohlávek

The Czech Yearbooks Project, for the moment made up of the Czech Yearbook of International Law® and the Czech (& Central European) Yearbook of Arbitration®, began with the idea to create an open platform for presenting the development of both legal theory and legal practice in Central and Eastern Europe and the approximation thereof to readers worldwide. This platform should serve as an open forum for interested scholars, writers, and prospective students, as well as practitioners, for the exchange of different approaches to problems being analysed by authors from different jurisdictions, and therefore providing interesting insight into issues being dealt with differently in many different countries. The openness of the platform is not only based on the broad range of languages that it covers, but also on the approach toward its readers and authors, who are eagerly encouraged to support us in creating the broadest open forum in the areas of interest.

We hope you enjoy our endeavour to create this ambitious project, and you are warmly invited to take part in its creation.

The Czech Yearbook of International Law® (CYIL) represents the broadest scholarly legal science and practice in Central and Eastern Europe. The analytical views espoused in the CYIL are germane to actual issues of public and private international law, and are related to aspects of European and constitutional law. The quality of the CYIL is clearly apparent from the number of professionals from prominent institutions in the Czech Republic, Slovak Republic and Poland, as well as other countries in the region, who are present on the Advisory and Editorial Boards.

The Czech Yearbook of International Law® is a compilation of articles written by professionals who offer unique insight into special legal issues regulated within the European legal culture. The CYIL includes articles from academics, attorneys, judicial staff, and practitioners in the field of international law, and book reviews from select publications, and provides information and overviews of scholarly work in the field of international law. The CYIL promotes the development of international law and of new analytical approaches that will increase the understanding of this branch of law and the goals thereof in the current global era. The focal points of interest in the 2010 CYIL are actual issues involving international treaties in the context of EU law, international contractual relations, the protection of human rights in the international context, and aspects of criminal law, as well as international arbitration.

The Czech Republic is an important source of information for those in academia interested in comparative and international law, as well as for specialists interested in the related areas of constitutional and European law. The goal of this project is to further advance and develop the analysis of international law, particularly in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

The second project within the Czech Yearbooks Project primarily focuses on the problem of arbitration from both the national and international perspective.

The use of arbitration as a method of dispute resolution continues to increase in importance. Throughout Central and Eastern Europe, arbitration is viewed as being progressive, due to its practical aspects, and to its meeting the needs of specialists in certain practice areas. Central and Eastern Europe, the primary, but not exclusive, focus of this project, is steeped in the Roman tradition of continental Europe, in which arbitration is based on the autonomy of the parties and on informal procedures. This classical approach is somewhat different from the principles on which the system of arbitration in common-law countries is based. Despite similarities among countries in the region, arbitration in Central and Eastern Europe represents a highly particularized and fragmented system.

One shortcoming in the use of arbitration in Central and Eastern Europe is the absence of comparative standards or a baseline that would facilitate the identification of commonalities and differences in individual countries, and help resolve problems that are common throughout the region. The CYArb® project aims to address this issue and provide a forum for comparisons of arbitration practice and doctrine in countries within the region, and in relation to practices internationally. It sheds light on both practical and academic aspects within these countries, and compares those approaches to broader European and international practices. This project will also foster a broad exchange of legal research and other information on the subject.

The main topic for the first volume of the CYArb® focuses on the tension between the arbitral system and public law, especially inalienable rights under constitutional law. The focus is on the crossroads of the basic principles of the two systems—on one side, the concept of party autonomy in arbitration, and on the opposite side, the limitation of autonomy in relation to inalienable rights. This tension can be seen in certain procedural issues that arise, especially the right to a fair trial, which is enshrined in international conventions on human rights and in national constitutions and other laws. The CYArb® places an emphasis on the duality of the concept of arbitration in relation to human rights and other constitutional values guaranteeing human rights. A wide range of issues arise here that have not been clearly answered, and which, in this period of globalization (and, in the European context, the EU), lead to entirely new perspectives and challenges with respect to issues that were considered settled for many years.

The topic for the inaugural edition of the CYArb® is a highly interdisciplinary investigation of the reach of human rights in the context of arbitration as a means of dispute resolution. There is ample room here for a broad comparative approach of national tribunals from the perspective of different legal traditions. Nevertheless, this topic is also significant for its entirely practical aspects, such as the service of process in arbitration proceedings.

The concept and participants for the CYArb® are drawn from the Czech Yearbook of International Law® (CYIL) project, the second volume of which is now being prepared and will be published by Juris Publishing Inc. in New York. This ideological similarity of sorts is primarily reflected in the journal approach. The yearbook will be published exclusively in English, with abstracts of articles provided in the Czech/Slovak, French, German, Polish, and Russian languages.