The Role of the Chair in International Commercial Arbitration - Chapter 6 - Asian Leading Arbitrators' Guide to International Arbitration
Neil Kaplan CBE QC was the Judge in Charge of the Construction and Arbitration List of the High Court of Hong Kong. He was Chair of HKIAC from 1991 - 2004, was President of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators 1999-2000 and is a Council member of ICCA. He is currently Chair of the Telecommunications Appeal Board in Hong Kong. Since 1995 he has practiced solely as an international arbitrator from Essex Court Chambers in London and Des Voeux Chambers in Hong Kong.
Karen Mills has practiced in Indonesia for almost 25 years and is one of the founders of the KarimSyah law firm in Jakarta. Ms. Mills is a Chartered Arbitrator, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (“CIArb”) and of the Singapore and Hong Kong Institutes, and founder and Co-chair of the Indonesian Chapter of CIArb. Ms. Mills is on the panel of arbitrators of most arbitral institutions in the region, including those of China, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, New Zealand and the Philippines, as well as Indonesia; and also serves as a Domain Name panelist under ADNDRC, Hong Kong, Beijing and Seoul.
Originally from Asian Leading Arbitrators' Guide to International Arbitration
There can be no doubt that the role of the Chair is pivotal in ensuring a smooth-running and fair arbitration.1 An Appendix to this chapter will refer to the various institutional and statutory provisions relating to the role of Chair.
The Chair of an arbitration is, in a sense, the glue that holds the whole process together.2 He must oversee all administrative matters as well as all procedural and substantive matters; be the key liaison among the parties and the other arbitrators, between the tribunal and any administering institution, if any, and sometimes must even mediate between the other arbitrators where not everyone sees eye to eye. One might like to consider the Chair as the conductor of the arbitral orchestra.
The role of the Chair can conveniently be considered at the following stages of an arbitration;
(a) Getting the arbitration on track
(b) Sorting out administrative and financial details
(c) Fashioning the first Procedural Order or Terms of Reference
(d) Supervising submissions
(e) Planning the hearings
(f) Conducting the hearings
(g) Planning the stages subsequent to the hearings
(h) Drafting the award
(i) Completing the mandate
Let us consider some of the duties of the Chair and issues that arise in each of these stages.