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Case management

The issue of case management is often a vexed one. Should an arbitrator also be responsible for case management? Read on to learn more.
The issue of case management is sometimes a vexed one. It is a common criticism that arbitral tribunals are not proactive enough in their case management. Some arbitrators are particularly conscious that arbitration is a process that, to a large extent, belongs to the parties and that the tribunal should, therefore, be slow to intervene.

Equally, it is a practical reality that tribunals are often wary about intervening to manage a case lest there by an accusation that a party has not had a full and proper hearing. It is equally true that the arbitral process is sometimes prey to abuse and delay by a party intent on being dilatory or on unduly slowing or frustrating the process.

However, an arbitrator must be mindful that article 19 of the Model Law makes clear that, where the parties are unable to reach agreement on an aspect of the procedure, it is for the arbitral tribunal to conduct the arbitration in the manner it considers appropriate. Thus, as an extreme example, if the parties have not even chosen the seat of arbitration in an ad hoc procedure (on the basis of where an institutional arbitration is taking place the institutional rules will usually lay down the seat), it will be down to the tribunal to decide on the seat (see article 20(1)).

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International Arbitration: Process and Procedure

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