Conflicts of interest in arbitration—challenges to arbitral appointments
Produced in partnership with Marie-Claire O'Kane and Richard Liddell of 4 New Square and Peter Halprin and Stephen Wah of Pasich LLP

The following Arbitration practice note produced in partnership with Marie-Claire O'Kane and Richard Liddell of 4 New Square and Peter Halprin and Stephen Wah of Pasich LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Conflicts of interest in arbitration—challenges to arbitral appointments
  • What are the main types of conflict of interest that pose a challenge in arbitration proceedings?
  • Advocates and arbitrators from the same barristers’ chambers or law firm
  • Repeat appointments of the same arbitrator
  • An arbitrator who also acts or has acted as advocate for one of the parties in another case
  • Potential risk of challenges to arbitral appointments

Conflicts of interest in arbitration—challenges to arbitral appointments

This Practice Note considers conflict of interest challenges to arbitral appointments in international arbitration proceedings. This Practice Note should be read in conjunction with Practice Note: Conflicts of interest in arbitration—applicable principles.

What are the main types of conflict of interest that pose a challenge in arbitration proceedings?

Advocates and arbitrators from the same barristers’ chambers or law firm

It is not uncommon for advocates and arbitrators from the same barristers' chambers and/or law firms to be involved in the same case, and this may give rise to a conflict of interest challenge.

The 'Orange List' of the International Bar Association (IBA) Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest in International Arbitration (the IBA Guidelines, para 3.3) addresses the 'Relationship between an arbitrator and another arbitrator or Counsel'. (It should be noted that the 'Orange List' items must be disclosed to the parties because of the possibility for raising justifiable doubts as to the arbitrator's impartiality and independence, but these items do not result in automatic disqualification of the arbitrator.)

Although English barristers are frequently referred to as 'counsel', the reference to 'counsel' in the IBA Guidelines is a reference to a party's lawyer and thus encompasses barristers and solicitors. Examples of relationships appearing in the Orange List include:

  1. the arbitrator and another arbitrator are lawyers in the same law firm (para 3.3.1)

  2. the

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