UK Supreme Court Confirms Parties’ Right to Choose Nationality of Arbitrators

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On 22 June 2010, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, ruling on Jivraj v Hashwani [2010] EWCA Civ 712, [2010] ICR 1435, held that arbitrators are employees for the purposes of UK law. This decision caused considerable controversy in international arbitration circles because it appeared to render a common arbitral practice — prescribing the nationality of arbitrators — illegal under UK anti-discrimination laws. This, in turn, threatened numerous existing arbitration agreements with being void and, more significantly, threatened to erode the effectiveness of London as a seat for international arbitrations.

On 27 July 2011, the UK Supreme Court overruled the Court of Appeal’s controversial decision in Jivraj v Hashwani [2011] UKSC 40. As a result of this decision, London is certain to remain a popular place to conduct international arbitrations.

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Published In: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Updates, Civil Rights Updates, General Business Updates, International Trade Updates, Labor & Employment Updates

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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