Inevitably, there is a certain ambiguity about the position of a party-appointed (or party-nominated)2 arbitrator. My sense, however, is that in the international community, there is less misunderstanding on this subject than there was ten or fifteen years ago. I am still asked occasionally, when I mention an arbitration in which I am sitting, “are you the chairman?” and if the answer is no, “who is your client?” I recently read the transcript of a symposium about arbitration under the North American Free Trade Agreement in which counsel for the investor referred to “my party arbitrator.”3
But I think such remarks are increasingly rare, and more important, are less and less accurate. I note, for instance, that almost every arbitration under NAFTA Chapter 11 (the investor-state chapter) has been decided by unanimity,4 as is true for the great majority of international commercial arbitrations.