Declaratory relief has become a common remedy in international arbitration. While it is widely accepted that arbitral tribunals have the power to render declaratory awards, it is controversial whether the granting of declaratory relief is subject to the same or similar restrictions in international arbitration as before state courts.
This article examines the nature of and the limits on declaratory relief and proposes a systematic and user-friendly approach to dealing with requests for declaratory relief before international arbitral tribunals. While, absent an agreement of the parties to the contrary, the specific requirements for declaratory actions before state courts do not apply in international arbitration, the general principle of good faith draws the boundaries of the admissibility of requests for declaratory relief. As a minimum standard, a request for declaratory relief should meet three basic criteria: (i) The legal position of (one of) the parties to the arbitration is in dispute; (ii) the requested declaration is suitable to resolve the dispute; and (iii) the declaratory award will serve a practical purpose.ASA Bulletin