Since its inception in 2009, the Institute for the Promotion of Arbitration and Mediation in the Mediterranean (ISPRAMED) has developed a comparative project on the institutional practices on the independence and impartiality of arbitrators in the Mediterranean. Through its Network of Arbitral Centres, ISPRAMED developed a powerful mechanism to exchange relevant experiences across the Mediterranean.
Member-Centres of the Network are: the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (EGYPT), the Centre for Arbitration Mediation and Conciliation of the Algerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ALEGRIA), the Arbitration Court of Morocco (MOROCCO), the Milan Chamber of Arbitration (ITALY), the Tunis Mediation and Arbitration Centre (TUNISIA) and the Arbitration Centre of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (TURKEY).
Within the bounds of this, CRCICA has participated in the drafting of a rules comparison chart as well as in a cross-Mediterranean institutional discussion on cases with particular emphasis on independence and impartiality issues. The discussion puts forth the most frequent circumstances raising doubts as to the independence and impartiality of arbitrators and the position of the member centres towards these situations.
The discussion divides cases of independence into four basic categories; Arbitrator's relationship with the Institution; Arbitrator's relationship with the parties or parties counsels; Arbitrator's relationship with another arbitrator and finally Arbitrator's relationship with the subject matter of the dispute.
CRCICA practice profile shows that the most frequent cause for challenging arbitrators is related to the arbitrators' current or previous relationship with the parties or parties' counsels. Challenges based on such causes were recently upheld by the Tripartite Ad hoc Committees composed from amongst the members of CRCICA Advisory Committee to rule on such challenges.
Depending on the outcome of this study, ISPRAMED will soon issue a common handbook on the independence and impartiality of arbitrators for the use in the Mediterranean region.