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The Problem of Repeat Arbitrators in Investment Arbitration

The very nature of an arbitrator requires that she or he be imbued with the principles of independence and impartiality, qualities that should never be doubted. Nonetheless, there has recently been an increased number of challenges to arbitrators in Investment Arbitrations subject to the procedures of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (the “ICSID”). There is a strong view that the ICSID arbitrators appear to be earning an unfortunate reputation as lacking in the aforementioned independence and impartiality due to, for example, multiple appointments by the same parties or counsel who happen to be called upon to resolve similar disputes or issues at the ICSID. [...]

Compensation for a Dismissed Arbitrator?

The Austrian Supreme Court (OGH) confirmed that an arbitrator who is dismissed during the arbitration by a state court because of conflict of interest before the award is rendered may recover compensation for (useful) services rendered until dismissal (Austrian Supreme Court, Der Oberste Gerichtshof, OGH, 17 February 2014, 4 Ob 197/13v).

The president of an arbitral tribunal was dismissed by a state court before the award was rendered due to his conduct during the proceedings. Thereafter, the claimant in the arbitration filed a claim in state court (Commercial Court Vienna) requesting damages and declaratory relief. The claimant sought compensation from the former president of the arbitral t [...]

Get Rid of the Presiding Arbitrator?

In his President’s Message (ASA Bulletin, Vol. 32, no. 2, 2014), Elliott Geisinger proposes a real challenge to the arbitration community. In a simple but rather persuasive rhetorical style, Geisinger places in confrontation Me. Paul Philibert Confus, Avocat à la Cour and Sir Reginald Muddle, QC, giving life to a debate that seems to be overlooked nowadays.

Is it really necessary to have a “presiding arbitrator”? This is the crux of the discussion.

Sir Muddle advocates that the theatre of arbitration should get rid of that character, while Me. Confus contends that fundamental principles of arbitration, like having a chairman – or chairwoman, for that matter – should be kept alive. Th [...]

ICCA 2014. What Do Users Really Think About Document Exchanges And Interim Measures?

How can arbitrators ensure the fair exchange of documents, and what role should arbitrators play in calling expert witnesses? When and how, if at all, should interim measures be used in international arbitration proceedings? These questions were tackled during a breakout session titled Arbitral Legitimacy: The User’s and Judge’s Perspectives at the ICCA Miami 2014 Congress, on Tuesday, 8 April. The panelists included in-house attorneys, Karl K. Hennessee, Vice-President of Public Law & Technology with Halliburton Energy Services, Clyde W. Lea, Deputy General Counsel of Litigation and Arbitration with ConocoPhillips, and Judge Vance E. Salter of the Third District Court of Appeal of Florid [...]

ICCA 2014. Does “Male, Pale, and Stale” Threaten the Legitimacy of International Arbitration? Perhaps, but There’s No Clear Path to Change

On Monday, 7 April, at the 2014 ICCA Miami Conference, the international-arbitration community gathered to address the question, “Who are the arbitrators?” The answer, panel attendees were told, was “male, pale, and stale” – that is, a large majority of the individuals chosen to serve as international arbitrators are male, from North America or Western Europe, and generally quite senior. Whether this reality threatens the legitimacy of international arbitration and motivates the community to aspire to make arbitration more diverse and inclusive and, if so, how that goal can be reached, were the focus of the panel and the audience’s spirited discourse throughout the session.

Ini [...]

Neutrality v. Nationality

The most quintessential element of international arbitration is an impartial, independent and neutral tribunal. Where impartiality and independence of the arbitrators is equated with direct relation to or bias towards one of the parties, neutrality is related to the nationality of the arbitrator. In international sphere, the “appearance of neutrality” is considered equally important, meaning an arbitrator is neutral if his nationality is different from that of the parties. Nationality generally, is not an issue if the parties have agreed to appoint an arbitrator of the same nationality as that of one of the parties but it has a different impact when national courts acts as the appointing [...]

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