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Arbitrator’s Warranty to be Impartial and Independent in Commercial Arbitration

An Arbitration Panel plays a significant role in promoting justice between disputing parties by resolving certain significant disputes as determined by the Saudi Legislature. As such, justice demands that the arbitrator, whether an individual arbitrator or an arbitration panel, shall be independent, impartial and  demonstrate integrity.  

Article (16) of the Saudi Law of Arbitration 1433H emphasizes the importance of an arbitrator’s independence, impartiality and integrity.  For example, the arbitrator shall not have a personal interest in the dispute and shall not, from the time of his appointment and throughout the arbitration proceedings, disclose to the arbitration parties in writing any circumstances likely to give rise to justifiable doubts as to his impartiality or independence. In order to ensure the fairness of the proceedings and proper completion of the arbitration and to secure the impartiality and independency principles, the Legislature has determined that certain conditions disqualify an arbitrator from hearing a case:

  • Presence of circumstances  giving rise to justifiable doubts as to an arbitrator’s impartiality or independence; or
  • The arbitrator lacks the qualifications agreed to by the arbitration parties.  

However, the Legislature, for the sake of justice, compromises between the actual instances authorizing barring an arbitrator from hearing a case, and the legal position of the arbitrator himself as to the abusive unjustifiable demand barring an arbitrator from hearing a case.  Neither party to an arbitration may disqualify an arbitrator appointed by him, or in whose appointment he participated, except for reasons that become known after the appointment of such arbitrator. (16/4,  Arbitration Law)