Claimant’s application under s. 68(2)(d) of the Arbitration Act 1996 alleged serious irregularity in the award of an arbitral tribunal alleging the tribunal failed to deal with all the issues that were put before it, and requested that the Court set aside or vary the award rather than remit it to the tribunal, as one of the arbitrators had acted inappropriately.
Claimant listed four aspects of its defense which were not addressed: (1) collateral estoppel; (2) conclusive evidence; (3) failure to meet the burden of proof; and (4) overstatement. The Court concluded none of the complaints were justified.
With respect to the alleged inappropriate behavior, claimant’s party-appointed arbitrator sent an email to its counsel, not copying the petitioner or any other member of the Tribunal, stating that “both party-appointed arbitrators were upset by the conduct of the chairman,” expressed highly negative views about him, and that the party-appointed arbitrator was going to ask the chairman to resign. The email was marked “highly confidential: not to be used in the arbitration” and explicitly stated that the email “could not be referred to in the arbitration or afterwards.” The chairman did not resign and the arbitration proceeded “with no suggestion that there were any other internal difficulties on the Tribunal.”
The Court was astonished that the email was sent, stating that “any communication by one arbitrator with one party which concerns the arbitration may give rise to concerns that that arbitrator is not acting fairly or impartially for the simple reason that it creates the impression of a close relationship between the arbitrator and the party and rises the specter of other such communications.” Despite this, the Court did not set aside the Award, noting that disclosure of the email “might have created a somewhat awkward working environment, it is not something that experienced, professional people could not deal with.”
With respect to the claimant’s request for confidentiality, the Court concluded that as the Award was not confidential by a U.S. lawsuit, it was “unrealistic to argue that [claimant] continues to have any expectation of confidentiality in the Award.”