27th November 2020
4 Pump Court’s joint head of chambers Nick Vineall QC and Andrew Stevens acted for the LMAA as an intervening party before the Supreme Court in this landmark arbitration decision. The ICC, LCIA, GAFTA and CIArb also intervened.
“The answer to the second issue therefore is that, unless the parties to the arbitration otherwise agree, arbitrators have a legal duty to make disclosure of facts and circumstances which would or might reasonably give rise to the appearance of bias. The fact that an arbitrator has accepted appointments in multiple references concerning the same or overlapping subject matter with only one common party is a matter which may have to be disclosed, depending upon the customs and practice in the relevant field. In cases in which disclosure is called for, the acceptance of those appointments and the failure by the arbitrator to disclose the appointments taken in combination might well give rise to the appearance of bias.”
“I think this misses the point. It would still be a breach of the terms of appointment with such consequences, if any, as the law of contract prescribes. In addition, a person may commit a breach of contract but incur no liability as a result, and the situation postulated falls into that category.”
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