International Arbitration Experts Discuss Diversity Among Arbitrators


Full article is published in International Arbitration Report

Olena Perepelynska. The issue of diversity within arbitral tribunal is important from various perspective. Firstly, it’s a quality of the decision-making, as numerous studies show that a diverse group produces better decisions then a homogenous one. And this is true for many areas, not only for arbitration.

Secondly, there is a rising demand of more balanced representation of various minority groups (gender, generation, geographical, ethnical, etc.). This demand is a part of global trends and diversity movements, but it is also a result of development of arbitration. If initially only a relatively small pool of practitioners possessed knowledge and experience to act as arbitrators in international arbitral proceedings, and the number of cases was not so high, now the situation is drastically different. The number of arbitration cases is rising, so does an access to education and practice in arbitration. We already have a very diverse pool of parties and parties’ counsel. And quite often they are not from the most known arbitration jurisdictions. As all arbitration users and counsel are human being, they want to see their cases resolved by an arbitral tribunal comprising an arbitrator similar to such users or counsel. Apart from an ancient subconscious filter “friend or foe”, which might affect our attitude to some persons, such parties and their counsel might believe that an arbitrator from the same minority group might better understand their case, as he or she will more likely share their culture, religion, business and political realities etc. That is why, the parties might perceive a diverse tribunal a as fairer one. And such perception will, most likely, extend to an arbitral award rendered by such tribunal.