Who do you want? Who do you get? Appointing the right arbitrator

Released: January 2010

Practice Areas: Arbitration International Arbitration

This is based on a paper given by Paul Darling QC to the East Asia Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in Hong Kong on July 2, 2009.


“The choice of persons who compose the arbitral tribunal is vital and often the most decisive step in an arbitration.  It has rightly been said that arbitration is only as good as the arbitrators.”

One of the major advantages of arbitration over litigation is the opportunity for the parties to choose the number and identity of the tribunal members.  This choice is significant for both positive and negative reasons.  Get it right, and the chances of a well conducted process leading to a decision which is fair and based on thorough understanding, are maximised.  Get it wrong, and the considerable power of the arbitrator/s, unless the parties’ agreement or institutional rules limit it, can have serious impact on fairness, the efficiency and cost of the process and ultimately, the quality of the decision….

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