AA 1996—appointing the tribunal
Produced in partnership with Vinson & Elkins LLP
AA 1996—appointing the tribunal

The following Arbitration guidance note Produced in partnership with Vinson & Elkins LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • AA 1996—appointing the tribunal
  • No agreement as to the appointment of arbitrators
  • Steps for appointment—more than one arbitrator
  • Steps for appointment—sole arbitrators
  • Failure to provide a selection mechanism
  • In default of appointment
  • Is there a time limit for seeking the court’s assistance in making an appointment?

This Practice Note considers the appointment of the tribunal under the Arbitration Act 1996 (AA 1996).

Under the AA 1996:

  1. the parties are free to decide the number and manner in which the tribunal will be appointed

  2. the tribunal cannot comprise an even number; any such agreement by the parties will be interpreted as meaning that a chairman shall be appointed

  3. absent any agreement as to the number of arbitrators, the dispute will be determined by a sole arbitrator

  4. any arbitrator appointed must be impartial and be physically and mentally capable of carrying out his duties

Of course, AA 1996 is only relevant to the constitution of the tribunal where the arbitration is seated in England or Wales, as underlined in GmbH v Enercon.

There are no restrictions in AA 1996 on who can be appointed as an arbitrator; arbitrators should either be experienced in the technical or legal aspects of the case. The extent to which one aspect is more important will depend on the facts of the dispute.

Following the Supreme Court decision in Jivraj v Hashwani, an arbitrator is not an ‘employee’ for the purposes of employment laws, including those relating to religion and belief.

Whether an arbitration clause provides for the appointment of three arbitrators, a sole arbitrator, or two arbitrators and an umpire, it is always important to make