- Independence and impartiality—the arbitrator's duty of disclosure under French law (Delta Dragon Import v BYD Auto Industry)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details:
Arbitration analysis: In a ruling dated 25 May 2021, the International Chamber of the Paris Court of Appeal dismissed an application to set aside an international arbitral award made by a party arguing that the sole arbitrator had failed to disclose certain relevant facts, thereby prompting doubts as to his independence and impartiality. The court found that the facts in question were public and easily available, and did not fall within the scope of the sole arbitrator's duty of disclosure. Furthermore, the applicant would have been able to discover these facts by showing a certain degree of curiosity. Having failed to do so, it could not subsequently challenge the arbitrator's independence and impartiality in setting aside proceedings. Although the court's decision followed existing French case law, it reiterated a number of principles that are relevant to the arbitrator's duty of disclosure under French law. The decision therefore provides useful guidance on this question for both arbitrators and parties. Written by Vincent Bouvard, associate at Herbert Smith Freehills Paris LLP.
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