Thursday, September 14, 2006

Arbitrator's Values and Party Expectations

In a July 13, 2006 posting, I commented about the qualities of international arbitrators. Today, I will comment about four of the core values that parties expect that arbitrators apply, when the arbitral tribunal has to act and to come to a decision involving such parties.

Perhaps the first value that parties expect –from arbitrators– is honesty. Arbitrators must be honest, at all times, being trustworthy in all they do. Arbitrators must always act with integrity.

A second and important value is accountability. Although arbitrators have the “right to be wrong”, arbitrators must take full responsibility for their actions.

A third value parties expect from their arbitrators is fairness. Parties must be treated equally, and arbitrators must never discriminate against any of the parties to the arbitration. Fairness in the arbitration proceedings is mandatory.

A fourth value is the arbitrator’s limitation to what he (or she) has been asked to do. Any arbitrator’s jurisdiction is limited to what the parties have agreed in the arbitration clause (or submission agreement). Arbitrators, therefore, must act –and be aware– of the limits of their competence, and –in coming to their decision and award writing– they should not be tempted to work beyond that. If they do their award will be set aside, causing further problems to the prevailing party in the arbitration.

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