That selecting the tribunal is the most important decision to be made in any international arbitration (apart from the rendering of the actual award) is, by now, a cliché. It also still happens to be true. This chapter will address the selection process primarily from the vantage point of the prospective arbitrator, although advocates will no doubt draw their own lessons.
The aim is to be practical; that is, the guidelines described below are those commonly followed by me when approached to be an arbitrator, and constitute a distillation of over twenty years of experience as an international arbitrator. Many readers may find some of what is prescribed to be impractical i.e. the “easy for you to do” prescriptions of an established arbitrator which are unrealistic for the inexperienced candidate with a reputation yet to establish. But they are the norms that permit an arbitrator to do his work without fear or favor and with an easy conscience.
The ultimate purpose of these guidelines is to let one be an impartial adjudicator once selected, whether as co-arbitrator or chairman. All of the major international arbitral rules state that each arbitrator, whether party-appointed or not, is to be “independent,” “impartial,” and/or “neutral.”1 This minimum standard is also the gold standard.