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Increased transparency in arbitrator appointment procedures in commercial arbitrations

In April 2018, the Arbitration Committee of the New York City Bar Association released a report that describes the arbitrator appointment procedures of various arbitral institutions in commercial arbitrations. The report provides guidance on arbitrator appointment options that may not be readily apparent from the institutions’ arbitration rules and websites in an effort to increase transparency and access to this information. The report is the result of extensive research based on publicly available data, user experience, and interviews with representatives of the institutions. It is designed to be user-friendly to corporate in-house counsel and outside litigation counsel who may not regularly handle commercial arbitrations.

The report discusses six arbitral institutions: the American Arbitration Association (AAA); the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), the international arm of the AAA; the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC); the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR); JAMS; and the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA).

Each section of the report provides an overview of the arbitral institution and the institution’s approach to the selection of both party-nominated arbitrators and institutional appointments, while encouraging parties and counsel to contact arbitral institutions to discuss appointment options that might be suitable for their case. The report also discusses the role of the institution as an appointing authority, in the appointment of emergency arbitrators, and in special situations such as multi-party arbitration, consolidated arbitration, arbitrations involving state entities, and small claims in expedited arbitration. The report also discusses the institution’s approach to arbitrator challenges and replacement of arbitrators. The report is designed to be a useful reference for parties and counsel in commercial arbitrations that furthers the dialogue about arbitrator appointment procedures.

Sidley Austin LLP Dana C. MacGrath

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