Is arbitration only as good as the arbitrator? (S1020)

Venue: La Maison des Arts & Métiers

Location: Paris, France

Event Date/Time: Dec 06, 2010 End Date/Time: Dec 06, 2010
Early Registration Date: Oct 06, 2010
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“An arbitration is only as good as the arbitrator”

This frequently used maxim acts as an invitation to use arbitration but also as a scarecrow warning users off arbitration.

Parties are of course free to choose their arbitration tribunal, which allows them to begin an arbitration with a certain tranquility.

After the arbitration begins, should parties become concerned if an arbitrator’s qualities do not meet their expectations? Unlike court judgments, arbitral awards are not subject to ordinary judicial remedies. Thus, a disastrous award may well remain disastrous for a party with no remedy available to right any wrong.

This ambitious conference will look at the relationship between the qualities of the arbitrator and the arbitrator’s “work-products”, i.e. the award and the arbitral process itself. The discussion will also consider whether parties can detach at least part of “their” arbitration from the arbitrator and the benefits, if any, of such an approach.

There are proven methods. Disputing parties may impose certain constraints on their intended arbitrator, in the agreement they conclude with the arbitrator or through the operation of the legal, customary, ethical or statutory rules that regulate what has become a true profession. They may also consider entrusting an institution with the task of exercising a measure of control over the “mission” of the arbitrator.

The picture would remain incomplete if the conference did not address, more particularly, certain substantive rules, such as the duty of confidentiality.

The practical importance of this conference’s topic is obvious, as is its academic interest. It comes as no surprise that the Institute has chosen it to honour the man who has directed it for 15 years, Serge Lazareff, who will co-chair the conference together with his successor, Yves Derains. Will there be a clash between several different views on the arbitrator's role? Mr Lazareff is well-known for his views, especially regarding the trust that should be placed in the arbitrator.


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