English Supreme Court Champions Party Autonomy in Arbitration

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The often-cited list of advantages of arbitration includes economy, speed, procedural flexibility, the ability to choose arbitrators, the neutrality of the process and cross border enforcement of awards. While parties with experience of international arbitration might doubt some of these claims, the ability to choose your own arbitrator and rely on the neutrality of the process are unquestionably among the most important and popular attributes of arbitration that inspire confidence in its users.

In a seminal decision very recently published in the case of Jivraj v Hashwani [2011] UKSC 40, the English Supreme Court (formerly the House of Lords) dismissed a challenge to the parties' hitherto undoubted right to determine the composition of their arbitral tribunal, and reaffirmed its support for the "breadth of discretion left to the parties and the arbitrator to structure the process for resolution of" their disputes in arbitration.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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