Philippa Charles and Daniel Wilmot spoke at the London International Disputes Week 2021 (LIDW21) member-hosted events where Stewarts was a co-sponsor.
Philippa joined a panel of three other arbitration practitioners on Wednesday 12 May 2021 to debate the motion: ‘Are arbitrators getting away with too much?’. Daniel joined a panel of three other arbitration practitioners on Friday 14 May 2021 to explore the trends of arbitration in Africa and their implications. A summary and recording of that session are available here.
Are arbitrators getting away with too much?
The questions discussed in this panel session, included:
- Do the entrenched concepts of finality and party autonomy justify arbitrator bad behaviour?
- Are the English courts allowing bad arbitrators to get away with too much under the auspices of the court’s ‘pro-arbitration’ stance?
- Are those who argue that the system does not require significant reform part of an echo chamber that fails to account for legitimate critical perspectives?
These questions and more fuelled a lively and, at times, controversial debate between the participants.
On the side of the proposers, issues raised included confusion about poor performance on the part of arbitrators, limits on transparency and meaningful review of the process. There was also a concern that parties do not appreciate the degree to which they have waived their rights to appeal by agreeing to arbitrate.
On the opposing side, attention was drawn to community-wide efforts on diversity, rules revisions and supervision efforts by institutions. Reference was also made to the statistical evidence pointing to a low incidence of problematic behaviour or decision making on the part of tribunals in terms of the low success rate of appeals, despite the ‘war stories’ suggesting otherwise.
The only ground of consensus reached was that the arbitration community should never cease to reflect on how the system could continue to be improved. The debaters were trenchant about this, despite their disagreement about the extent to which arbitrators are part of any problem.
The motion was put to the audience to determine, with a perhaps surprising result:
If you were unable to join us for the live webinar, you can access the recording here.
The webinar is free to view but standard registration details are required.
Africa and arbitration – is London still relevant?
Daniel Wilmot joined a panel of three other arbitration practitioners on Friday 14 May 2021 to explore the trends of arbitration in Africa and their implications (if any) for London as one of the world’s leading centres of international arbitration.
You can find further information on this session and the recording here.
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