Published 6 September 2021
Strange Bedfellows: Remarks on the Compatibility of Commercial Arbitration Principles with Maritime Arbitration
(Added 06/09/2021) This Article examines one particular element of maritime arbitration and its variation from mainstream international commercial arbitration, namely the standards of independence and impartiality that are applied to arbitrators. Building upon the analysis of the English courts in the three decisions in the dispute between the Halliburton Company and Chubb Bermuda Insurance Ltd., it incorporates information from interviews undertaken with maritime arbitration practitioners in several European jurisdictions. Part one introduces the historical foundations of maritime law and maritime arbitration, illustrating how this history reflected and laid further foundation for the separation of maritime disputes from other commercial disputes. Part two maintains this historical focus, but turns specifically to maritime law and maritime arbitration in England, addressing how it came to have the separate and distinct status within English legal practice that it now possesses. Part three examines the English court decisions in the dispute between Halliburton and Chubb, and the development those decisions reflect from an initially relatively straightforward treatment of all forms of arbitration as raising similar issues of impartiality and independence, to an ultimate position that emphasised instead the centrality of contextual considerations when determining the impartiality and independence standards to which arbitrators should be held. In the final section, the question of maritime arbitration’s genuine distinctiveness with respect to impartiality and independence is considered through an analysis of interviews with maritime arbitration practitioners.