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Arbitral Tribunal Notes

BPTC Law Notes > Alternative Dispute Resolution Notes

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A more recent version of these Arbitral Tribunal notes – written by City Law School students – is available here.

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* s15(1) AA - Parties are free to agree on the number of arbitrators to form the tribunal and whether there is to be a chairman or umpire

* If there is no agreement on the number of arbitrators, tribunal shall consist of a sole arbitrator (s15(3))

* Unless otherwise agreed by the parties - s15(2) provides that an agreement for an even number of arbitrators shall be understood as requiring the appointment of an additional arbitrator as chairman. Appointment of Arbitrators

* Parties are free to agree on the procedure for appointing the arbitrator or arbitrators, including the procedure for appointing any chairman or umpire (s16(1) AA)

* Arbitrators may be chosen because they are known professionally by/recommended to the parties or parties may approach an organisation to nominate an arbitrator (eg. by the president)

* More frequently the parties may use an arbitral institution as the nominating authority.
* Usually involves completing a form applying for the necessary arbitral services, which will ask for details such as the nature of the dispute, whether there is an arbitration agreement, which arbitral rules apply and the seat, law and language of the arbitration.

* In the absence of a contrary agreement, s16 provides default provisions for the main varieties of arbitral tribunal Tribunal Sole Arbitrator

Appointment Procedure



Parties jointly-appoint the arbitrator not later than 28 days after service of a request in writing by either party to do so (s16(3)) Institutional rules often provide that where parties of different nationalities, arbitrator should be of a different nationality.

Two Arbitrators


Each party required to appoint one arbitrator not later than 14 days after service of request in writing by either party to do so (s16(4))

Three Arbitrators



Each party appoints one arbitrator (as above), These arbitrators then forthwith appoint a third arbitrator as the chairman (s16(5) If parties different nationalities, chairman should be a different nationality.

Two Arbitrators and an Umpire



Each party appoints one arbitrator (as above) The arbitrators appoint an umpire at any time after their appointment, but before substantive hearing (or forthwith if they cannot agree on a matter relating to arbitration) (s16(6))

Failure of Appointment Procedure

* Where the procedure breaks down, there are default powers in s17-19 AA.

* May result in one party's nominee becoming the sole arbitrator, or may require an application to the High Court to resolve the problem. Chairman

* Where the arbitral tribunal has a chairman, the parties are free to decide on the chairman's functions and powers.

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