The Tribunal's Deliberations - Chapter 14 - Asian Leading Arbitrators' Guide to International Arbitration
Vinayak P. Pradhan is a Partner of Skrine in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia graduated with a LLB (Hons) from the University of Singapore in 1973, was admitted to the Malaysian Bar in 1974 and the Singapore Bar in 1991. Mr. Pradhan has appeared as solicitor and counsel in domestic and international arbitrations. He is a Chartered Arbitrator and sits as an arbitrator in domestic and international arbitrations, having done so under the ICC Rules, the KLRCA and UNCITRAL Rules, the SIAC Rules and the LCIA Rules. From 1998-2003, he was a Commissioner with the United Nations Compensation Commission, Geneva. Mr. Pradhan is a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague and of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Lausanne.
Originally from Asian Leading Arbitrators' Guide to International Arbitration
This article aims to provide some information and (hopefully) some food for thought as to the means by which members of a multipartite arbitral tribunal reach their verdicts: what might be called “the deliberative process”. This is not a legal treatise, and there is in any event if not a dearth then far from a plethora of authority on the issue, so it inevitably follows that the content of this article will veer between the axiomatic and the anecdotal.
It is sometimes thought that the members of an arbitral tribunal only start their deliberations when long shadows are cast at the end of the last day and counsel pack their bags and wearily waft away from the dubious joys of legal battle.
This is a misconception. The arbitrators’ discussions on the final submissions and the crystallisation of their appreciation of the dispute and their views on it are the culmination of a series of deliberations which could commence very soon after the arbitration has started.
There is no universal approach to a tribunal’s deliberations. The manner in which any given tribunal will approach its task is driven by factors which include the personality, competence, experience and commitment of the arbitrators and the legal and cultural systems that they come from. In most cases the process is driven by the personality and experience of the chairman, although there are anecdotal instances of arbitrators accustomed to acting as chairmen whose dominant personalities will not allow them to accept a less pro-active role when they do not sit in that capacity.
Most tribunals will see the deliberative process kicking off in the early part of the proceedings. This will be particularly so when the members of the tribunal come from different legal systems and cultural bases resulting in a lack of an early community of thought in the tribunal.