Cofely Ltd v Anthony Bingham and Knowles Ltd

Citation: [2016] EWHC 240 (Comm); [2016] LTL 24/2/2016; [2016] 2 All ER (Comm) 129 : [2016] BLR 187 : 164 Con LR 39 : [2016] CILL 3801

Nature of case:
The claimant, Cofely, succeeded in its application under s.24(1)(a) Arbitration Act 1996 for the removal of the first defendant as arbitrator from an arbitration between the claimant and the second defendant, a claims consultant, on the ground of apparent bias.

Evidence showed that the arbitrator had received 18% of his appointments and 25% of his income from cases involving the second defendants and it had been accepted in Eurocom v Siemens that the second defendants manipulated the institutional appointments processes. Cofely had reasonably sought to obtain further information about the relationship between the first and second defendants but the first defendant, conducting a hearing on the issue as arbitrator, had both avoided addressing the requests and effectively ‘cross-examined’ Cofely’s counsel “aggressively and in a hostile manner”. In doing so, the arbitrator was “descending into the arena in an inappropriate manner”.

Considered cumulatively, the evidence supported the grounds relied upon by Cofely and raised the real possibility of apparent bias, establishing a valid ground for removal of an arbitrator. If the arbitrator would not resign, an order for his removal would be made.

Link to Judgment

Counsel: Vincent Moran QC represented the claimant

Counsel

Vincent Moran QC

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