The Selection process of Arbitrators.
An arbitrator is a selected independent third party who should be skilled in handling the arbitration process. Their position is similar to that of a judge, in that they will listen to both sides and come to a verdict. However they will also support mutual communication, as opposed to an adversarial approach. Although no explicit qualifications are essential to act an as arbitrator, some legal experience is useful, as is industrial awareness if the matter in dispute involves technical matters.
The arbitrators selection procedure depends upon the arbitration agreement. Some agreements provide that the arbitrator will be selected through an arbitration institution's process, such as the American Arbitration Association or the International chamber of Commerce. Similarly, if the agreement incorporates institution's rules, that institution's process will be used. If the agreement is an ad hoc agreement, the parties must pursue the provisions in the agreement and try to reach an agreement on the arbitrator or arbitrators.
- Selection of arbitrator:
Section 11 of Chapter 3 of The Arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1996 is linked to the appointment of an arbitration. Features of the section of arbitrator under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996:
- Section 10 of the Act gives absolute independence to the parties to choose the arbitrators for the formation of the arbitral tribunal.
- The arbitral tribunal should always comprise of an odd numbers of arbitrators.When the parties to a dispute have different choices for arbitrators, the chosen arbitrators are given authority to choose a presiding arbitrator.
- When the parties cannot come to a unified choice of an arbitrator and all techniques of choosing an arbitrator fails the Supreme Court and the High Court are given the authority to be an arbitrator.
The purpose of this provision is to protect the appointment of an unbiased and neutral arbitrator. Fifth schedule to the Act includes a list of grounds giving rise to justifiable doubts as to the independence or impartiality of an arbitrator. The 7th schedule lays the grounds which make a person disqualified to be appointed as an arbitrator.
The Act provides that in an International Commercial Arbitration, an arbitrator of a nationality other than the nationalities of the parties may be nominated as arbitrator. Expeditious disposal of application for appointment of an arbitrator is stressed by the Act and an Endeavour shall be made to dispose of the dispose of the matter within a period of 60 days from the date of service of notice on the contrary party.
Factors to be kept in mind while selecting an arbitration:
- Choose an arbitrator who is having manageable amount of workload or caseload.
- Choose an arbitrator with the requisite legal and professional expertise.
- Take into consideration the Arbitrator's nationality.
- Select an arbitrator who is having good managerial skills.
The parties to an arbitration have complete autonomy over the selection of the arbitrator. It is dissimilar from that of the selection of a judge in a court proceeding. The process of selection, however, relies too much upon the ability and knowledge of the arbitrator to sort to investigate on his own capacity.