Tribunal secretaries in international arbitration—the advantages and disadvantages
Produced in partnership with Joshua Folkard of 4 New Square
Tribunal secretaries in international arbitration—the advantages and disadvantages

The following Arbitration guidance note Produced in partnership with Joshua Folkard of 4 New Square provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Tribunal secretaries in international arbitration—the advantages and disadvantages
  • The advantages and disadvantages of tribunal secretaries
  • Concluding remarks

This Practice Note considers the merits and demerits of the use of tribunal secretaries in international arbitration. It sets out the arguments for and against the involvement of secretaries, and looks at the different kinds of arbitrations and range of circumstances which can affect their utility and/or the decision to use them.

For the reasons set out below, whether and to what extent it is advantageous for a tribunal to use a secretary will turn on a number of factors, in particular:

  1. the nature and scope of the dispute

  2. whether the arbitration is institutional or ad hoc, and

  3. how the process of appointment and the management of tribunal secretaries are undertaken

This Practice Note does not, therefore, purport come to any general conclusion as to whether the benefits of tribunal secretaries outweigh their potential drawbacks.

Tribunal secretaries are most likely to be used in large and/or complex arbitrations, such as those concerning infrastructure projects (see, for example, the comments from LALIVE on the position in Switzerland). The 2012 QMUL and White & Case International Arbitration Survey also suggests that tribunal secretaries:

  1. are almost twice as likely to be used in civil lawyers’, as opposed to common lawyers’, arbitrations, and

  2. are most common in arbitrations of Latin American practitioners and least common among those of North American and Asian practitioners

The increasing tendency to use tribunal