The English High Court has upheld a challenge to an arbitration award on the grounds of serious irregularity, in Fleetwood Wanderers Ltd (t/a Fleetwood Town Football Club) v AFC Fylde Ltd  EWHC 3318 (Comm). The Court held that the sole arbitrator’s conduct in making independent investigations after the substantive hearing, without notifying the parties and without giving them an opportunity to respond, breached the tribunal’s general duty under s33 of the UK Arbitration Act 1996 (the “Act“), and amounted to a serious irregularity under s68 of Act. The award was remitted back to the arbitrator for reconsideration.
Arbitrator’s independent inquiries amount to a serious irregularity â€“ English court remits award back to arbitrator
Hong Kong has published its long-awaited Code of Practice for third party funders, and announced that amendments to the Arbitration Ordinance which permit funding of Hong Kong arbitrations will come fully into force on 1 February 2019. Similar amendments to the Mediation Ordinance (Cap. 620) have been deferred for further consultation.
On 1 July 2018, the Supreme People’s Court of China (SPC) promulgated Provisions on Several Issues Regarding the Establishment of International Commercial Courts (Fa Shi 2018 â€“ No.11). We reported this major development here. The SPC has now released further rules canvasing out the operation of the China International Commercial Courts (CICC).
4th EFILA Annual Conference 2019: The EU and the future of international investment law and arbitration â€“ 31 January 2019, London
The European Federation for Investment Law and Arbitration (EFILA) will be holding its fourth Annual Conference, on 31 January 2019, at Herbert Smith Freehills’ offices in London. The conference will focus on four topics:
- the EU’s external investment policy;
- the EU’s investment policy towards Asia;
- constructing a multilateral investment court: the path ahead; and
- the EU’s Energy investment policy.
In N v W  HKCFI 2405, the Hong Kong Court of First Instance refused to remit or set aside an award on the basis that an arbitrator had misconducted proceedings, demonstrating its reluctance to entertain such claims absent direct and well-established evidence. The court further noted that the plaintiff could not use a set-aside application as a substitute for appeal.
A decision by the federal government of the UAE to remove arbitrators from the scope of application of Article 257 of the UAE Penal Code has been welcomed by the arbitral community in the UAE and beyond. Federal Decree No. 24 of 2018 came into force on 8 October 2018.
Dubai, seen as an arbitration-friendly jurisdiction, saw a threat to its image when Article 257 was amended in 2016 to include arbitrators in the category of individuals against whom criminal sanctions could be imposed if they failed to maintain integrity and impartiality in the discharge of their duties.
In Castlemil Infant (HK) Supplies Co Ltd v Care N Love Development Ltd  HKDC 1419, the Hong Kong District Court granted a mandatory injunction, having found that the plaintiff’s underlying tort claims did not fall within the scope of the parties’ arbitration agreement. Continue reading
GAR Guide to Construction Arbitration now available to download, including chapter on “Construction Arbitration and Turnkey Projects” by HSF’s James Doe and David Nitek
London-based Construction & Infrastructure Disputes partners James Doe and David Nitek have authored the chapter on ‘Construction Arbitration and Turnkey Projects’ in the second edition of Global Arbitration Reviewâ€™s Guide to Construction Arbitration.
Launched last year, The Guide to Construction Arbitration is an in-depth review of construction disputes internationally â€“ from preparing contracts and guarantees, to setting up dispute boards, organising arbitration proceedings, analysing documents and evidence, and navigating within particular industries and regions.
At the 7th Asia Pacific ADR Conference in Seoul earlier this month, the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB) unveiled its Draft Seoul Protocol on Video Conferencing in International Arbitration. The Draft Protocol is intended to serve as a guide for best practices for planning, testing and performing video conferencing for international arbitrations.
Facing cybersecurity head on: the arbitration community develops guidance on how to tackle this difficult issue
There is an emerging consensus among the arbitration community that parties, arbitral institutions and tribunals in individual arbitration matters must give greater attention to cybersecurity in order to minimise the risks of a successful attack.
International arbitrations can involve parties that are prominent targets or potential targets of cyberattacks.Â As part of the arbitral process, those parties may share material which is not in the public domain and access to which may have the potential to influence individuals, employees, share prices, corporate strategies and government policy.Â Similarly, the outcome of an arbitration can have significant repercussions in the financial markets, meaning that obtaining draft forms of arbitral awards could be very lucrative for cybercriminals. As such, the arbitral process is a prime target for cyberattacks, particularly if hackers can identify a weak link in the chain of custody.
Over the last year several tools have become available to assist stakeholders in the arbitral process address issues of cybersecurity, including the draft Cybersecurity Protocol produced by a working group from International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA), the New York City Bar Association (NYC Bar) and the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) (see here), and the International Bar Association’s (IBA) Cybersecurity Guidelines (see here).