Decisions by the SCC Institute Regarding Challenge of Arbitrators - (SAR) 2002 - 1
Marie Öhrström, Legal counsel at the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber ofCommerce.
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The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC
Institute) – like any other arbitration institution - on regularly basis
receives challenges of arbitrators. Such challenges are, however, quite
few, and the number of cases where the arbitrator is discharged is even
fewer. Between January 1999 and June 2002, there were 13 instances of
challenges of arbitrators. In three of these cases an arbitrator was
subsequently discharged from his duties. It should be emphasized,
however, that in many cases where an arbitrator is challenged, he or she
often chooses to resign voluntarily because he or she feels uncomfortable
with not having the full confidence from all parties involved in the
dispute. Such challenges do not give rise to a decision by the SCC Institute
and are, therefore, not reflected in the statistics below.
During the above-mentioned period a majority of the challenges were
made under the SCC Rules. There were also some cases where the SCC
Institute - in its capacity as appointing authority - decided on challenges
under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules.
Needless to say the grounds for challenge differ from case to case.
However, the most frequent – and moreover the most successful - ground
for challenging an arbitrator is that the arbitrator, or another person at the
arbitrator’s law firm, have had previous contact with one of the parties
involved, e.g. assisting one of the parties as counsel. Other reasons for
filing a challenge have among others been: co-operation difficulties, the
arbitrator is from the same geographic area or has the same nationality as a
party, the arbitrator has been arbitrator in another case where one of the
parties was involved, a person associated to the arbitrator may expect
benefit as a result of the outcome of the dispute, or the arbitrator have
worked with a colleague of the party’s counsel.