The Transient and Permanent in Good Arbitrator Behavior - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 65, No. 2
William “Rusty” Park is a professor of law at Boston University, an eminent arbitrator, and the general editor of Arbitration International. He is the current president of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and a panel member designated by the United States of America to the roster of neutrals of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). This article is condensed and adapted from “Arbitrator Integrity: The Transient and the Permanent,” published in 46(3) San Diego Law Review 629 (2009). Copyright (c) William W. Park.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
To enhance fair and accurate decision-making, standards for arbitrator ethics must promote rigorous impartiality and independence without inadvertently providing avenues for recalcitrant litigants to sabotage legitimate proceedings. In practice, such a balancing act will not always be easy. Professor Park explores several salient concerns in evaluating arbitrator fitness. Special sensitivity imposes itself in the face of claims that arbitrator independence has been waived, or when barristers operate from the same chambers. Other trouble spots include repeat players in investor-state proceedings and the need to establish sensible de minimus guidelines with respect to contact between arbitrators and counsel.
If an evil gremlin wanted to bring arbitration into disrepute it could take two different paths. One path would establish unreasonably low standards for impartiality and independence, resulting in proceedings conducted by biased arbitrators. The other path to shipwreck would make the arbitrator’s position precarious by creating unrealistic standards that permit recalcitrant parties to derail arbitrations or have awards set aside by a simple allegation of bias, no matter how trivial the circumstances giving rise to the alleged prejudgment or conflict of interest.