- Volume 17 Issue 1
Parties to national or international disputes use arbitration because they think it is faster than litigation or affords privacy. But it is very important for the parties that the decision of arbitrators is made impartially and independently. For the parties to accept the outcome of an arbitration, it is essential that the final outcome be the result of an impartial process, especially because arbitration is a form of adjudication, albeit a private one. The success of arbitration resides in the conduct of arbitrators. The more independent and impartial arbitrators are, the more trustworthy arbitration will be. Just as court procedures allow for the recusal of judges under certain circumstances, the arbitral process provides means to remove arbitrators from a tribunal if arbitrator can no longer be considered impartial or independent. This is blown as the disqualification or challenge of arbitrators. An arbitrator can also be challenged when he or she does not fulfill the contactually agreed and stipulated qualifications required by the arbitral agreement. An arbitrator's inability to act impartially could give rise to a challenge to the arbitrator, and even to the award. However, deciding whether an interest or relationship could give rise to an apprehension of bias is a difficult issue for every arbitrator. The standard of arbitrator's impartiality and independence is not commensurable to that of judge, because the parties are permitted considerable autonomy in selecting arbitrators. Particularly it may be expected for the party-appointed arbitrator to act as the advocate of the party in the deliberations of the tribunal. Doubts that could give rise to a challenge to the arbitrator should be justifiable. That is the case if a reasonable, informed third party would conclude that the arbitrator's decision making might be influenced by factors other than evidence presented by the parties. Consequently, for example, the mere fact that an arbitrator was to work in the same firm as one of the parties' counsel, this could not automatically be considered as grounds for challenge for lack of impartiality.