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ARBITRATION LAW

Lloyd's Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly

ARBITRATION LAW

Matthew McGhee *

[Arbitration Act 1996: hereafter “AA”. Unless otherwise stated, references to “the Act” or to “s.” are to this Act.]

CASES

72. Chartered Institute of Arbitrators v B, C & D 1

Production of arbitration documents to third party—disciplinary action against arbitrators—intervention of arbitral institution

A dispute arose between C & D, in respect of which the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) appointed B as the arbitrator. B declared that he had no conflict of interest arising from a relationship with D. C successfully applied to the court for B’s removal. CIArb commenced disciplinary action against B. CIArb applied under CPR r.5.4C(2) for disclosure of documents from the arbitration and subsequent court hearing, together with declarations that those documents could be relied on in disciplinary proceedings against B.
Decision: Application granted.
Held: (1) Documents read out in court or read by the judge could be provided under the court’s inherent jurisdiction. Those documents, and any other documents, could also be provided under CPR r.5.4C (supply of documents to a non-party from court records). In each case, whether documents were disclosed was subject to the court’s discretion.
(2) It was appropriate to exercise the court’s discretion in favour of disclosure. The legitimate purpose of maintaining the quality of arbitrators (being in the interests of justice) outweighed the private interest of the parties to the arbitration in keeping their arbitration confidential. The fact that CIArb regulated only some arbitrators, who subscribed voluntarily, did not permit a distinction to be drawn with a compulsory regulator of all arbitrators.
(3) Evidence read out in court or read by the judge was to be disclosed, being evidence of the matters to which the disciplinary proceedings related. The parties’ arguments before the previous court were not relevant to the disciplinary proceedings, so would not be produced.
Comment: Although arbitration is a private process and parties are entitled to expect confidentiality, arbitration is a quasi-judicial process and the court will allow third parties with a legitimate interest to obtain arbitration documents.

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