UK Supreme Court clarifies English law on arbitrators’ duties of impartiality, disclosure and confidentiality
07 December 2020
The Court unanimously confirmed that, when considering whether justifiable doubts actually exist as to an arbitrator’s impartiality, the appropriate test to apply is whether the fair-minded and informed observer would conclude that there was a real possibility that the arbitrator was biased. The application of this test will be highly fact-specific, however, and must take account of the distinctive features of international arbitration, including any customs and practices specific to the relevant field of arbitration.
The Halliburton decision is the second from the Supreme Court in as many months dealing with arbitration and involving Chubb. Like the Enka case, which addressed the governing law of an arbitration agreement, Halliburton brings welcome clarity to the principles of English arbitration law but may lead to difficulties in practical application.