Selection and Appointment of Tribunal Members - UNCITRAL Arbitration

Arbitrators are required to be, and remain, independent and impartial throughout the proceedings. 

The UNCITRAL Rules do not set out any specific requirement of nationality, although the applicable instrument may.

Where the selection of an arbitrator falls upon the Secretary-General of ICSID under the UNCITRAL Rules, the Secretary-General will have regard to such considerations as are likely to secure the appointment of an independent and impartial arbitrator.  In appointing, the Secretary-General will generally consider availability, expertise, and nationality. Unless the applicable instrument provides otherwise, the Secretary-General will also take into account the advisability of appointing an arbitrator of a nationality other than the nationalities of the parties (e.g. NAFTA Article 1124(3). 

Parties to an UNCITRAL Arbitration are not required to select arbitrators from the ICSID Panel of Arbitrators. Nor is the Secretary-General of ICSID required to select from the ICSID Panel of Arbitrators when acting as appointing authority unless the parties agree or the instrument of consent provides otherwise.

Additional Considerations for Selecting Arbitrators

In addition to the requirements established by the Rules, there are several practical considerations that parties should consider when selecting an arbitrator. Although these may vary depending on the specific characteristics and demands of each case, the following factors are generally among the most important:

  • Absence of conflict of interest
  • Experience as an arbitrator
  • Knowledge of the relevant law(s)
  • Language proficiency
  • Availability/manageability of current caseload
  • Timeliness
  • Cohesiveness of the Tribunal
  • Other areas of expertise
  • Remuneration

The parties are free to agree on any rate of remuneration for arbitrators they wish. However, in most UNCITRAL arbitrations administered by ICSID, parties and tribunals have agreed to the application of ICSID’s schedule of fees.

Appointing an Arbitrator

Unless the appointment is made by the Secretary-General of ICSID, the party appointing an arbitrator or, where applicable, the arbitrators entrusted with appointing the presiding arbitrator, should provide the Secretary-General with the following information concerning the appointee:

  • full name;
  • nationality;
  • contact information (i.e., mailing address, telephone number, e-mail);
  • updated curriculum vitae; and
  • statement of independence.

A model statement of independence is annexed to the 2013 UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. Some investment treaties also have codes of conduct that arbitrators are bound by.

ICSID has a database of curricula vitae of arbitrators which can be accessed here.