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Part II. Appointing Arbitrators

By: Hassan Elhais | Date: 2013-09-17
Al Rowaad Advocates & Legal Consultants
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

An arbitrator can be appointed; directly by name (this is not the common method used), through the Court or through the Arbitration centre. If you agree for the Court or Arbitration centre to appoint an Arbitrator you need to make an application. The arbitration provisions of the Civil Procedure Code contain mandatory provisions concerning the appointment of an Arbitrator. There must be an odd number of arbitrators e.g. 1, 3, 5, 7 arbitrators (although there is no limit set on the number of arbitrators). The arbitrator must also satisfy certain other requirements - he must not under The UAE Civil Procedure Code, Federal Law No. (11) of 1992, Article 206:

-    Be a minor
-    Have a criminal conviction
-    Have been bankrupt (without having been rehabilitated)
-    Be legally incapacitated (such as being placed under guardianship)

If the parties fail to agree on the number or identity of the arbitrators, the UAE courts are tasked with making the appointments, which will be final and cannot be appealed. Moreover, under Article 207 if a party wishes to challenge and potentially remove an arbitrator, it can only do so after the appointment has been made, and for the same reasons a public judge can be challenged and dismissed, which are on the grounds of independence or impartiality, or if the arbitrator has deliberately neglected to act in accordance with the arbitration agreement. A party’s application to remove an arbitrator must be made within five days from notifying the parties of appointment of the arbitrator or the date on which the reasons for dismissal became known.

The parties are free to decide the number of arbitrators, and in the absence of such agreement, the default position is that there will be one. If the parties are unable to agree on the identity of an arbitrator, the DIFC court will make the appointment within 30 days of a request by a party, and the appointment cannot be appealed. The position of an arbitrator can only be challenged if there are justifiable doubts as to his impartiality or independence or if he does not possess the qualifications agreed by the parties.

Article 207

-    The acceptance of the arbitrator must be in writing or by recording his acceptance in the minutes of the session

-    If the arbitrator resigned (without any serious reason) from performing his work after accepting the arbitration, it is allowed to sentence him to pay compensation.

-    It is not permitted to remove the arbitrator except after all of the adversaries’ approval. The court of dispute, and upon the request of one of the parties, is allowed to dismiss the arbitrator and order the appointment of his substitute in the same way in adopted in his appointment at the beginning of case if it was confirmed that the arbitrator has intentionally neglected the work according to the arbitration agreement despite giving him a written notification in this regard.

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