This is an application to set aside two international arbitral awards. The applicants ask that the arbitration awards be set aside and the matters at issue in the arbitration be decided by a different arbitrator.
The applicants assert that, among other things, there was a reasonable apprehension of bias, the Arbitrator exceeded his jurisdiction, and the Arbitrator gave inadequate reasons.
Arbitrators, like judges, are expected to maintain high standards of impartiality. Further, it is presumed that arbitrators are impartial. However, circumstances can arise where an informed person would have doubts that the arbitrator, whether consciously or unconsciously, could decide the matter fairly. This case is primarily about whether the arbitrator ought to have disclosed a subsequent retainer from the same lawyer while the case was ongoing, and whether, in the circumstances of this case, his failure to do so would give rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias.
For the reasons set out below, I have determined that there was a reasonable apprehension of bias, and the arbitration awards shall be set aside. As highlighted below, in coming to this conclusion, context matters.
As I have determined that the awards shall be set aside on the basis of reasonable apprehension of bias, I do not find it necessary to address all of the grounds raised by the applicants on this appeal. I highlight briefly below my views on certain of the other grounds raised.