What Rules Does an Arbitrator Follow in Crafting an Award?

Arbitration awards must be in writing, but arbitrators are not required to provide opinions or explanations for their decision. The panel will issue an award within 30 business days from the date the registry closes. The purpose of these Ethics Guidelines is to provide basic guidance to JAMS arbitrators on ethical issues that may arise during or related to the arbitration process. Arbitration is a dispute resolution procedure in which a neutral decision maker issues an award.

The parties are usually represented by lawyers who argue the case before a single arbitrator or a panel of three arbitrators, who judge or judge the matter based on the evidence presented. Arbitration, which is concluded voluntarily after a dispute has occurred or as agreed in a pre-dispute contractual clause, is generally binding. By initiating the arbitration process, the parties have agreed to accept the arbitrator's decision as final. There are cases in which an arbitrator's decision can be changed or overturned, but they are extremely rare. The parties to an arbitration exchange the right to a full review for a faster, less expensive and private process in which they are certain that there will be a duly expedited resolution.

There are other sets of ethical guidelines for arbitrators, such as those enacted by the National Academy of Arbitrators and jointly by the American Arbitration Association and the United States Bar Association. An arbitrator may wish to review them for informational purposes. These Guidelines are national in scope and are necessarily general. They are not intended to replace applicable state or local laws or regulations.

The arbitrator must be aware of applicable state laws or court rules, such as laws on disclosure, that may apply to ongoing arbitrations. In the event that these Guidelines are inconsistent with such statutes or rules, the arbitrator must comply with applicable law. In addition, most states have enacted codes of ethics for judges and other public judicial officials. In some cases, these codes apply to certain activities of private judges, such as court-ordered arbitrations. Arbitrators must comply with the codes that apply specifically to them or to their activities.

When the codes are not specifically applied, the arbitrator may choose to voluntarily comply with the requirements of those codes. The ethical obligations of an arbitrator begin as soon as the arbitrator becomes aware of the possible selection by the parties and continue even after the decision has been made in the case. JAMS strongly encourages arbitrators to address ethical issues that may arise in their cases as soon as an issue arises and, where appropriate, to seek advice on how to resolve such issues from the National Arbitration Committee. The Guidelines in Articles I to IX apply to neutral arbitrators, regardless of the method by which they were selected. Article X is intended to apply to arbitrators appointed by Parties who are not neutral. Many arbitration agreements provide for the appointment of one arbitrator by each Party and the appointment of the third arbitrator by both parties.

The arbitrators appointed by the parties shall be presumed to be neutral, unless the agreement of the parties, the arbitration rules agreed by the parties, or applicable laws provide otherwise. These Guidelines do not establish new or additional grounds for judicial review of arbitral awards. The arbitrator must defend the dignity and integrity of the arbitration office. The arbitrator has a responsibility to the parties, to the other participants in the proceedings and to the profession. The arbitrator must seek to discern and refuse to approve or consent to any attempt by a Party or its representative to use arbitration for a purpose other than the fair and efficient resolution of a dispute. The arbitrator must be competent to arbitrate a particular matter.

The arbitrator should accept an appointment only if it meets the requirements established by the Parties in the arbitration agreement with respect to professional qualifications. The arbitrator must prepare before the arbitration by reviewing any statement or document submitted by the Parties. The arbitrator must refuse service or must withdraw from arbitration if they become physically or mentally incapable of meeting reasonable expectations of Parties. The arbitrator must inform all parties about their role and rules of arbitration process. Unless Parties agree otherwise or as required by applicable rules or law, they must maintain confidentiality of all matters related to arbitration procedures and decisions.

The arbitrator should not discuss a case with people who are not directly involved in arbitration unless identity of Parties and details of case are sufficiently hidden so there is no realistic likelihood of identification. An arbitrator may discuss a case with another member of panel who knows that case whether all members present or not. The arbitrator must not use confidential information acquired during arbitration procedure for personal or other benefits, or adversely affect interests of another person. They should not inform anyone about decision before giving it to all Parties. When more than one arbitrator, they must not disclose deliberations of arbitrators.

They should not participate in post-award proceedings except if requested to correct/clarify award, required by law, or all Parties request participation in subsequent dispute resolution procedure in same case. The arbitrator must promptly disclose any real/potential conflict of interest/relationship/other information that may reasonably lead Party to question their fairness. An arbitrator may establish social/professional relationships with lawyers/members of other professions but no attempt should be made keep them secret unless some characteristic may seem reasonable that it should be disclosed.

Nicole Fratercangelo
Nicole Fratercangelo

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