Arbitrator Bias

Transnational Dispute Management (TDM), January 2015

Boston Univ. School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 15-39

84 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2015

See all articles by William W. Park

William W. Park

Boston University - School of Law

Date Written: October 16, 2015


Seeking to bring arbitration into disrepute, an evil gremlin might contemplate two starkly different routes. One would tolerate appointment of pernicious arbitrators, biased and unable to judge independently. An alternate path would establish unrealistic ethical standards that render the arbitrator’s position precarious and susceptible to destabilization by litigants engaged in dilatory tactics or seeking to annul unfavorable awards. To reduce the risk of having cases decided by either pernicious or precarious arbitrators, those who establish and apply ethical guidelines walk a tightrope between the rival poles of (i) keeping arbitrators free from taint, and (ii) avoiding manoeuvres that interrupt proceedings unduly. The job of evaluating independence or impartiality implicates subtle wrinkles to the comportment of individuals in the application of ethical standards entails a spectrum of situations in which mere perceptions of bias may be given weight equal to real bias.

Keywords: ethics, due process, arbitration, international law

JEL Classification: K19, K39, K40

Suggested Citation

Park, William W., Arbitrator Bias (October 16, 2015). Transnational Dispute Management (TDM), January 2015, Boston Univ. School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 15-39, Available at SSRN:

William W. Park (Contact Author)

Boston University - School of Law ( email )

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