- Challenge to court-appointed Bermuda Form arbitrator rejected (H v L)
- Original news
- What are the practical implications of this decision?
- What was the background to the challenge?
- What was the court's approach to the challenge?
- What did the court decide about the arbitrator's acceptance of related appointments?
- Adjudication authorities
- What did the court decide about the arbitrator's failure to disclose the related appointments?
- What did the court decide about the arbitrator's response to the challenge?
- What did the court decide on the application to replace the arbitrator, despite the failure of the challenge?
- The alternative application under CPR 3.1(7)
- Court details
Arbitration analysis: Mr Justice Popplewell in the Commercial Court has rejected an appearance of bias challenge brought under section 24(1)(a) of the Arbitration Act 1996 (AA 1996) against the chairman of a tribunal in a Bermuda Form arbitration. The arbitrator had been appointed by the court in the absence of an agreement between the parties and had been the respondent insurer’s preferred candidate. He subsequently accepted appointments in two other arbitrations arising out of the same incident, one such appointment made by the same insurer. He did not disclose these to the claimant. The court decided that neither the acceptance of these appointments nor their non-disclosure gave rise to an appearance of bias. The International Bar Association Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest in International Arbitration 2014 edition (the IBA Guidelines) did not represent the English law in this regard. Furthermore, the arbitrator’s response to the challenge could not itself be a justifiable ground. Finally, the arbitrator’s willingness to be replaced if he did not retain the confidence of the parties was not a good reason to revisit the court order by which he had been appointed and which, by AA 1996, s 18(4) was deemed to be made with the agreement of the parties.
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