Selection and Appointment of Conciliators - ICSID Convention Conciliation (2022)

Once the number of conciliators and the method of their appointment have been determined, the conciliators may be appointed. If the parties are unable to appoint all members of the Commission pursuant to the established method of appointment, the ICSID default mechanism may apply.

Parties are not required to select conciliators from the ICSID Panel of Conciliators, although they are welcome to do so.

The Convention provides certain requirements regarding the qualifications of appointees to ICSID conciliation Commissions, but the parties are otherwise free to choose whomever they wish.

Requirements for Appointees

All ICSID conciliators must be persons:

There is no nationality requirement for conciliators in the ICSID Convention or the Conciliation Rules.

Additional Considerations for Selecting Conciliators

In addition to the requirements established by the Convention, there are practical considerations that parties should consider when selecting a conciliator. These include:

  • Absence of conflict of interest
  • Experience as a conciliator or mediator or experience in other amicable dispute resolution methods
  • Knowledge of the relevant law(s)
  • Language proficiency
  • Availability of the conciliator 
  • Ability to meet case timelines
  • Cohesiveness of the Commission
  • Other areas of expertise

Appointing a Conciliator

The parties should provide ICSID with the full name, nationality and contact information (i.e., mailing address, telephone and fax numbers, email) for each conciliator (Conciliation Rule 16).

ICSID also requests the curriculum vitae of the appointee.

Once a conciliator is appointed, ICSID seeks the appointee’s acceptance of the nomination. The Secretary-General then notifies the parties of the appointee’s acceptance or refusal of the nomination.

If a conciliator accepts the appointment, he/she must provide a signed declaration in the form published by ICSID, including any disclosures (Conciliation Rule 16(3)(b)).

If a conciliator declines the appointment or fails to accept the appointment and provide the signed declaration within 20 days, ICSID will invite the appointing party to nominate another conciliator in accordance with the method followed for the previous appointment (Conciliation Rule 16(5)).

Replacement of Conciliators Prior to Constitution of the Commission

Before the constitution of the Commission, a conciliator may withdraw his/her acceptance, a party may replace a conciliator whom it appointed, or the parties may agree to replace any conciliator (Conciliation Rule 17).

If a conciliator nomination is withdrawn, ICSID will invite the party that appointed that conciliator to nominate another conciliator in accordance with the method followed for his/her appointment.

Assistance of the Secretary-General with Appointment

The parties may ask the Secretary-General to assist with an appointment at any time. This could concern the appointment of a Sole Conciliator, the President of the Commission, or all members of a Commission (Conciliation Rule 14).

The Secretary-General’s involvement may be further to the parties’ agreement on the method of constituting the Commission (e.g., the parties agree that the President is to be appointed by the Secretary-General), or on an ad hoc basis when they are unable to agree. For example, if the parties are to jointly appoint the President of the Commission but are unable to agree on the President, they can request the Secretary-General’s assistance before resorting to the default procedure in Article 30 of the Convention.

The parties may stipulate any considerations they would like the Secretary-General to take into account in the appointment process.

If the parties do not indicate any particular method of appointment, the Secretary-General may propose a procedure (e.g., a ballot or a list procedure).

A ballot proceeds as follows:

  • ICSID provides the parties with a ballot form containing the names of several candidates
  • Each party is given a date for return of its completed ballot form, indicating the candidates it accepts or rejects
  • A party is not required to share its completed ballot with the other party
  • If the parties agree on a candidate from the ballot, that person will be deemed to have been appointed by agreement of the parties 
  • If the parties agree on more than one proposed candidate, ICSID selects one of them and informs the parties of the selection

A list procedure proceeds as follows:

  • ICSID provides the parties with a list of several candidates
  • Each party can strike a certain number of candidates and rank the remaining candidates
  • The candidate with the best ranking is appointed or, if two or more candidates have the same ranking, ICSID selects one of them

Any appointment pursuant to a procedure proposed by the Secretary-General is considered an appointment by agreement of the parties under the established method for constituting the Commission.

If the procedure does not lead to an appointment, the parties can request additional assistance from the Secretary-General under Conciliation Rule 14 or proceed under the default mechanism in Article 30 of the Convention.

Default Mechanism for Appointing a Conciliator

If the parties are unable to appoint all members of the Commission within 90 days after the registration of the Request for conciliation, either party may ask that the Chair of the ICSID Administrative Council appoint the conciliator(s) not yet appointed (Article 30 of the Convention and Conciliation Rule 15). Alternatively, the parties may agree to a different period or procedure.

If the request under Article 30 of the Convention concerns both a co-conciliator and the President of the Commission, the Chair will first appoint the co-conciliator (Conciliation Rule 15(2)).

The appointment by the Chair must be made from the Panel of Conciliators. Before the candidate is appointed, the Chair will consult with the parties about the candidate to be nominated, giving them an opportunity to raise any circumstance showing that the person lacks the required qualities under Article 14(1) of the Convention.

Until the process is completed, the parties may appoint missing conciliators under the established method of constitution or by agreement.

The Chair will use best efforts to complete the appointment process within 30 days of the request for appointment (Conciliation Rule 15(3)).