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Apparent bias in arbitrators

Lloyd's Shipping & Trade Law

Apparent bias in arbitrators

The Supreme Court’s judgment in Halliburton Co v Chubb Bermuda Insurance Ltd [2020] UKSC 48; [2021] 1 Lloyd’s Rep1 has become the leading English case on arbitrators’ duty of disclosure and test for apparent bias.

The impartiality of arbitrators is a long-debated theme. Under the Arbitration Act 1996 (section 33) arbitrators are under the duty to act fairly and impartially as between the parties. Absent a legal definition of impartiality, past initiatives like the IBA Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest in International Arbitration (2004) attempting to create a framework of reference have not been completely successful in delineating the legal status quo of the impartiality of arbitrators.

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