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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: October 2020

3 - Exploring the Parameters of Conflicts of Interest

from Part I - Vacating Commercial Arbitration Awards

Summary

As arbitration specialists (arbitrators and practicing lawyers) build their credentials, their paths often cross in scholarship, conferences, and arbitral proceedings. Depending on their relationships with one another, both professional and personal, an appearance of impropriety (conflict of interest) may appear. This appearance is often more an illusion than reality because to the uninitiated the arbitral process seems to be the domain of a secretive group of insiders. In fact, there is a high level of transparency in the selection of arbitrators. Required disclosures flesh out any potential conflict of interest between the arbitrators and the parties. Most arbitrators will voluntarily remove themselves from consideration in order to ensure their professional integrity in the arbitration community. This is especially the case when there are justifiable doubts as to their independence and impartiality. Also, parties may challenge the appointment or retention of an arbitrator in cases of apparent bias.