London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) has recently updated its Notes for Arbitrators to implement changes to the tribunal secretaries processes. These changes aim at clarifying the tribunal secretary role, and strengthening of consent requirements in this context.
The LCIA now requires parties to specifically consent to the tasks a tribunal secretary may carry out, their remuneration, and their identity. These consent requirements are designed to ensure a productive discussion between parties and arbitrators and reducing the risk of challenges. However, while previously the parties’ written agreement was required for a tribunal secretary to be appointed, arbitrators are now also entitled to set a reasonable time limit for providing approval, at the expiry of which parties are deemed to have approved it. This approach retains the primacy of the parties, while ensuring that parties are not able to obstruct the efficient conduct of proceedings through silence.
The changes to the Notes for Arbitrators make even more explicit the prohibition on delegating the tribunal’s fundamental decision-making function as well as the fact that arbitrators remain responsible for the tasks carried out by a tribunal secretary. Moreover, now the parties are allowed to seek the removal of a tribunal secretary by making a challenge. As with arbitrator challenges, decisions are made by the independent LCIA Court.
Notes for Arbitrators: http://www.lcia.org//adr-services/lcia-notes-for-arbitrators.aspx#8. SECRETARIES TO TRIBUNALS
Prepared by: Aleksandra Orzeł-Jakubowska, associate, Łaszczuk & Partners