Starting an arbitration is a key stage in resolving a dispute. Getting the right arbitrator is essential since they will be making decisions which bind the parties. But following the right legal procedure for appointing a tribunal is also key. If the appointment procedure goes wrong then it can be costly to correct and may even result in a claim being barred as out of time. Further, if the appointment does not comply with the arbitration agreement then the tribunal may lack jurisdiction and the award could be unenforceable or open to challenge.
The law reports tell many stories of parties getting an appointment wrong, whether by missing a time limit, failing to send the notice to the right person, using the wrong wording or choosing an arbitrator who does not possess the qualifications specified by the arbitration clause. Such cases involve some knotty legal problems, but many such issues can be avoided by sensible wording of the arbitration clause, and care taken in the appointment process.
This article looks at common difficulties arising out of clauses in shipping contracts, where parties have control over the terms of their contracts at the outset and can take steps to avoid pitfalls relating to the appointment of arbitrators.
Read the full article: Common difficulties in maritime arbitration clauses.