As far as arbitration proceedings are concerned, and especially when it comes to commercial arbitration, even though there is no requirement of a formal education on the part of the arbitrator, it is necessary to verified certain criteria before appointing the arbitrator, in order to ensure the success of the arbitration proceedings and the fairness and professionalism expected of them.
The following are the appropriate criteria according to which it is appropriate to examine the suitability of a potential arbitrator who is appointed to conduct the arbitration proceedings:
1. Professionalism and familiarity with the subject of the conflict
Firstly, an arbitrator is expected to be familiar with the provisions of the law in general and the provisions of the Arbitration Law in particular. Although parties can agree that the arbitration proceedings will not be subject to the substantive law, the arbitration proceedings are subject to the supervision of the court and they are conducted in accordance with the provisions of the law. Hence, it is preferable for the arbitrator to be a professional and experienced lawyer.
An arbitrator who is appointed to decide between parties to a dispute must have integrity and a reputation as a fair and impartial arbitrator. An integral part of the success of the arbitration proceedings is the trust of the parties in the arbitrator. Trust and reputation are acquired by arbitrators through years of hard work and conducting themselves fairly and with integrity throughout their careers.
3. The absence of a conflict of interest
When appointing an arbitrator, who is designated to hear and decide between parties to the conflict, it is appropriate that he be free of extraneous and irrelevant considerations, and completely free of personal interests and without bias.
Although there is no impediment to an arbitrator knowing and being in contact with the parties or their attorneys, as long as this is fully and properly disclosed immediately at the beginning of the proceedings while obtaining the consent of all parties to continue the arbitration proceedings, our recommendation is to appoint an arbitrator who has no prior contact with the parties.
4. Supervision of the arbitration proceedings
The arbitration proceedings in general and the arbitral award in particular are subject to the supervision of the court. In order to enforce the arbitral award, the ruling must be approved by a court. At the same time, the arbitration proceedings may create situations of direct relationship between one of the parties and the arbitrator during the arbitration proceedings, which relationships are best avoided.
Hence, it is recommended to conduct the arbitration proceedings within the framework of the Arbitration Institute, which neutralizes any relationship between the arbitrator and one of the parties.
At the Commercial Arbitration Institute, all parties’ requests to the arbitrator are submitted through the secretariat, and the arbitrator’s decisions are delivered to the parties through the secretariat.
Moreover, the arbitrator is subject to the arbitration rules of the Commercial Arbitration Institute, which impose on him administrative duties and administrative supervision by the President of the Commercial Arbitration Institute, starting with ensuring the absence of conflicts of interest (the arbitrator declares that he has no prior acquaintance with the parties), and the conduct of the arbitrator throughout arbitration proceedings through to adhering to deadlines.
Furthermore, when parties apply to the Commercial Arbitration Institute with a request to appoint an arbitrator, the President of the Arbitration Institute selects three professional arbitrators who are knowledgeable in the area of the dispute and he allows the parties to choose the most suitable arbitrator from among them.