Allegations of Apparent Bias or Suspicion of Bias Must Be Substantiated by Sustainable Evidence: Speculative Evidence Will Not Do
Charles Chatterjee, Associate Fellow, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies , UK
Allegations of bias against arbitrators or arbitral tribunals are not uncommon in the world of commercial arbitration. The High Court has been required to deal with a number of allegations of bias, but the cases of “actual bias” have been rather limited so far. Most of the cases on which the High Court or the Court of Appeal has been required to deliver judgment are on either apparent bias or suspicions of bias. In order to minimise court proceedings on this issue, two important issues need to be seriously considered: (a) whether apparent bias or suspicion of bias may be sustained by admissible evidence like it is done in order to confirm “actual bias” in arbitrators or arbitral tribunals; and (b) the arbitrator or the tribunal shall as the case may be resign or require the parties to substitute a tribunal afresh as otherwise even if no allegation of bias has been confirmed by the courts, the party concerned will still be reluctant to have the award enforced. Arbitrators or the arbitral tribunal as the case may be always protest against the allegations to their governing bodies concerned.
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