St. Mary's Law Journal


This paper evaluates whether the Texas International Arbitration Act (TIAA) will be a helpful addition to the laws governing arbitration of private commercial disputes between residents of Texas and Mexico. Owing to differences among cultures, languages, and legal systems, attorneys in the United States and in Mexico are turning to binding arbitration for the resolution of international disputes. Texas enacted an International Arbitration Act in 1989 to foster expanded international trade and facilitate resolution of international commercial disputes through conciliation and arbitration. Proponents of international arbitration argue it is the method of choice for resolution of private commercial disputes due to predictability, competence, party participation, finality, enforceability and costs. When an attorney represents a client in a cross-border transaction, the attorney must act as a bridge between people who come from different cultures. They do not speak the same language and are accustomed to different legal systems. The attorney who properly fulfills this role, must have specific knowledge of the substantive and procedural laws of their own jurisdiction. They must have a general familiarity with the other country’s legal system and consult with local counsel. Additionally, they must remain alert to the possibility that the substantive and procedural rules of their own country may be different in cross-border commercial transactions. In passing the TIAA, the Texas Legislature attempted to create an atmosphere in Texas which would be conducive to international business. Not all countries in which Texas residents do business are signatories to either the Panama Convention or the New York Convention. Thus, the adoption of the TIAA will likely serve a useful purpose. For the TIAA to fulfill its promise, however, more analysis and guidance are needed in those areas in which there is more than one relevant statute or treaty.


St. Mary's University School of Law