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Anthony Houghton, SC chaired panel which examined arbitrators’ immunity in CIArb UAE Conference

30 Mar 2017

Des Voeux Chambers’ Anthony Houghton, SC chaired a panel discussion recently in Dubai, at a conference organized by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators entitled “The Synergy and Divergence between Civil Law and Common Law in International Arbitration”.  The panel, comprising Teresa Giovannini, Prof Dr Mohamed S Abdel Wahab, Prof Dr Loukas Mistelis, Dr Mark Hoyle and Joel Richardson, brought their extensive practical and academic experience to bear in discussing topics which included a consideration of the differing roles of arbitrators in the determination of facts and law; differing approaches between the common and civil law regarding the immunity of arbitrators; and differing approaches between the common and civil law regarding expert evidence.  Amongst themselves, the panel had experience in practice in their ‘home’ jurisdictions of common and civil law in Europe, the MENA region, and East Asia.

Immunity of arbitrators is a subject which has gained some topicality in the UAE in light of Federal Decree Law No. 7 (2016) which amended Article 257 of the 1987 Federal Penal Code No. 3 to provide that arbitrators (and others) acting: ”… in contravention of the requirements of the duty of neutrality and integrity … shall be punished by temporary imprisonment….”.

The panel also considered issues that arise out of the cultural diversity inherent in multicultural arbitrations and arbitration tribunals, and the impact of education on the approach taken by such tribunals; and the tribunal dynamics that arise in mixed culture tribunals.