GOOD MORNING FROM LONDON
AN ARBITRATOR SPEAKS
The Institute of Engineering and Technology are holding a one day training programme for arbitrators practising in the engineering and technology sector. There is nothing unusual in the gathering which focuses on recent judicial decisions and role play in mock arbitrations. These training days are held every six months and, aside from the training, the event affords arbitrators in the sector the opportunity to socialise with fellow dispute resolvers.
During the lunch interval some of the arbitrators – approximately twelve in number – happen to be discussing the present crisis in the Middle East. The temperature begins to rise when one of the arbitrators expresses views quite critical of the position adopted by Israel. He feels strongly about the topic as do some of his colleagues who hold an opposed view which is equally critical of Hamas. There is nothing unusual in arbitrator colleagues hold conflicting views on a matter of topical importance nor that they express them during intervals in the training programme. Things never get out of hand during the exchanges but opinions are firmly held on both sides.
A few days later one of the arbitrators who participated in the lunch interval discussion, Mr Anthony Stallard, receives a letter from a City firm of lawyers, ABCD, inviting him to accept an appointment as arbitrator in a commercial dispute involving Wind Farms. Differences have emerged between the two parties to the contract who have entered into an agreement covering the distribution of profits arising from the sale of electricity generated by the wind farms. The contract between the two parties, Mr Stallard is informed, contains an arbitration clause referring all disputes to arbitration to be administered by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (“IET”)
The two parties to the contract are a Belgian company and an Israeli company. ABCD inform Mr Stallard that their clients are the Belgian company based in Brussels. They are the claimants in the dispute and the Israeli company based in Tel Aviv are the defendants. The Israeli company are represented by another firm of UK City lawyers – WXYZ.
ABCD, in the usual way, provide Mr Stallard with the names of the parties to the contract which, they inform him, contains an arbitration clause and invite him to accept the appointment as arbitrator for the Claimant – the Belgian company. The arbitration, he is informed, will be conducted in accordance with the arbitration rules of the IET with which Mr Stallard, an experienced arbitrator, is familiar. Mr Stallard carries out his own check to ensure that he has no conflict of interest that would prevent him from accepting the appointment and writes back to ABCD accepting the appointment, confirming that he has no conflict of interest and providing details of the arbitration fee that he will charge.
All persons and organisations referred to in each of the Episodes in this Narrative are fictitious.
IN EPISODE 2 – WHAT IS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST?