Many automatic tools to find international arbitrators exist online. The best is likely the search tool of the International Arbitration Institute, while the ASA Database is a close runner-up. The CIArb search tool can also be useful to find international arbitrators. Many other online tools to select arbitrators exist, however, which can be accessed below.
For parties seeking an independent arbitrator promoting speed, rulings in accordance with black letter law and cost-effectiveness, arbitrator William Kirtley is worth considering. For parties seeking young, intelligent lawyers eager to serve as arbitrators, Nina Jankovic and Zuzana Vysudilova of Aceris Law LLC may also be considered.
Selecting an appropriate arbitrator is a critical step in any international arbitration, since different arbitrators may reach different conclusions with respect to a given case with the same facts and the same applicable law.
Standards for the appointment of arbitrators may be found in the arbitral rules chosen by the Parties and in the domestic arbitration laws of the place of arbitration. A lack of independence or impartiality can justify the annulment of an arbitral award, so it is essential to avoid conflicts of interest. The IBA Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest in International Arbitration help to identify conflicts of interests that should be avoided. In international arbitration, it is generally permissible to meet or speak with potential international arbitrators before deciding to nominate one. This allows parties to find international arbitrators they trust to rule fairly on their case.
The fees of international arbitrators will vary significantly depending on the applicable arbitration rules and, in some cases, the fees negotiated by the arbitrator. Under the ICC Rules of Arbitration, for instance, arbitrator fees are set on an ad valorem basis, with minimum and maximum amounts determined by Appendix III on the basis of the amount in dispute. Under the LCIA Rules of Arbitration, however, arbitrator fees are set in accordance with the Schedule of Costs at hourly rates not exceeding GBP 500 per hour. For ICSID arbitrations, arbitrator fees are set at USD 3,000 per day of meetings or other work performed. For purely ad hoc arbitrations, fees may be a matter of negotiation and are subject to being “reasonable” under Article 41 of the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules.
At a minimum, all arbitrators must be:
- Independent to the parties to the dispute; and
- Impartial with respect to the subject matter of the dispute.
Parties should also find international arbitrators who have:
- Significant prior experience in international arbitration, ideally as an arbitrator;
- Fluency in the language of the arbitration;
- Knowledge of the substantive law at issue;
- Knowledge of the applicable arbitral rules;
- Knowledge of the specific field in dispute for highly technical matters;
- Integrity, intelligence and attention to detail;
- Sufficient time to devote to the case in question; and
- Case management skills to ensure an efficient procedure.
Free Online Tools To Find International Arbitrators
International Arbitration Institute (IAI)
Based in Paris, the IAI gathers practitioners and academics specializing in arbitration. It offers an advanced search option to identify a specific arbitrator as well as an alphabetical list of its members-arbitrators. This is one of the most useful online tools to select arbitrators and should satisfy most needs.
Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA)
ACICA maintains a Panel of Arbitrators for the purposes of ACICA appointments, which may be utilized by parties as a resource for party-nominations. Search results may be narrowed by specifying a language, specialization or nationality.
CiArb Members Directory
CiArb has a freely searchable list of many potential arbitrators, mediators, adjudicators and even expert witnesses. Not all have significant experience, but the CiArb provides a search filter that allows arbitrators to be selected on the basis of their country, language and profession. It can be useful when seeking an arbitrator with a particular technical expertise (for instance a shipbroker). Parties can choose various criteria, such as legal background, field of expertise and nationality.
Grain and Feed Trade Association (Gafta) Arbitration
Gafta offers arbitration services for its parties who use its standard forms of contract. All Gafta arbitrations are adjudicated only by its own Gafta Qualified Arbitrators. A list of the contact details of the Gafta Qualified Arbitrators is available online for free. Access to the full directory is available only to Gafta members, however.
Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC)
The HKIAC provides an online database of arbitrators included on its Panel and List of Arbitrators. The database is searchable according to several criteria such as nationality, practice location, jurisdiction of admission, arbitration expertise, other ADR skills and language to assist arbitration users in identifying suitable candidates for appointment.
International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)
ICSID is the leading institution administering investment arbitrations. A list of arbitrators and an advanced search option are available on its website.
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
Since 2016, the ICC has provided information on cases registered including the names of the arbitrators, their nationality, their role within a tribunal, the method of their appointment and whether the arbitration is pending or closed. While no information regarding the arbitrators is provided, this tool can be a useful starting point to search for an experienced ICC arbitrator with an unusual nationality.
Society of Construction Arbitrators
The Society of Construction Arbitrators contains a short list of its members who are engaged as arbitrators in the construction industry.
Subscription-only Resources to Find International Arbitrators
Subscription-only resources are seldom needed, as they provide little information beyond that offered by the free resources listed above. However, below are some of the paid resources to help find the right arbitrator for a dispute.
American Arbitration Association (AAA)
As a leading arbitral institution administering cases, the AAA present parties with lists of arbitrators. The fee payable to obtain such lists depends on the number of arbitrators included. This can be useful for arbitrations under the institution’s Rules.
Kluwer Arbitrator Intelligence Reports
For a fee, Kluwer provides arbitrator intelligence reports including feedback on hundreds of arbitrators regarding their rulings on document production, the duration of proceedings, the fairness of case management, the arbitrators’ questions during hearings and the quality of reasoning in final awards.