Challenging the tribunal’s independence or impartiality
Produced in partnership with Clifford Chance
Challenging the tribunal’s independence or impartiality

The following Arbitration guidance note Produced in partnership with Clifford Chance provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Challenging the tribunal’s independence or impartiality
  • Challenging independence or impartiality
  • Application to the arbitrator
  • Application to the appointing authority
  • Application to the national court
  • The relevance of the IBA Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest in International Arbitration
  • Tactical considerations
  • Provisions in institutional rules and UNCITRAL rules

This Practice Note should be read in conjunction with Practice Note: Ensuring the arbitral tribunal's independence and impartiality, which explains the importance of impartiality and independence in the arbitral process.

Challenging independence or impartiality

Where a party has doubts as to the independence or impartiality of an arbitrator, or has concerns about the ability of an arbitrator to perform their duties, arbitral rules and national laws allow for challenge to the appointment of that arbitrator.

A challenge may take place in one of three ways: applying to the arbitrator, applying to the appointing authority or, if unavailable or once these routes have been exhausted, applying to the national courts.

An application to challenge the appointment of an arbitrator should be made without delay. Whether the challenge is made to an arbitral institution or the court will depend on the type of arbitration proceedings in question, ie whether institutional rules are provided for. Rules of arbitral institutions and national law generally state that a party must make a challenge within a set time period following the formation of the tribunal or the date on which it becomes aware of the facts which form the basis for the challenge (see art 10.3 of London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) Arbitration Rules 2014 (LCIA Rules), art 14(2) of the International Chamber of Commerce Rules of