The efficient and effective resolution of a dispute is frequently down to who the arbitrator or arbitrators are determining the dispute. The Composition of the Arbitral Tribunal is set out in Articles 11 to 14 of the LCAM Arbitration Rules (the Rules) and Article 7 of the LCAM Expedited Arbitration Rules. Where the parties have not agreed the number of arbitrators the default position under Rule 11.1 is that the Arbitral Tribunal shall consist of one arbitrator, unless the Board, taking account of the complexity of the case, the amount in dispute or other circumstance, decides that the dispute is to be decided by more than one arbitrator. One of the key features of the Rules is that appointment of all arbitrators is subject to confirmation by the Board. This is an important provision as it provides quality control over the selection of the Arbitral Tribunal. So whilst the parties are free to choose their arbitrator(s), it is subject to Board approval. In giving its approval the Board will take into account a number of factors such as the method or criteria selected by the parties, the nature and value of the dispute, the location and languages of the parties, and the laws which might be applicable as well as other factors which might be relevant. So appointments have been made where it was a requirement that the tribunal would deal with the case virtually; where there was international insurance expertise; where there was knowledge of Lithuanian law, to mention but a few. In consultation with users, LCAM has taken note of a general complaint about the “left field” selection of arbitrators by some institutions. Whilst difficult to define what is meant by this, it does place a greater duty on the Board when appointing or confirming its appointment. Where the appointment is from LCAM’s own panel, note should be taken that in addition to due diligence having been undertaken in order to be accepted on the panel, the panel itself has taken into account diversity. There is also an emphasis on those who have experience but are early on in their arbitration career, as opposed to the familiar choices one frequently comes across. And last but not least, and of course, availability and commitment to dealing with the proceedings efficiently is of prime importance.
Jonathan Wood FCIArb, Head of International Arbitration, RPC and Chair of the Board of Trustees, CIArb