Accreditation of Arbitrators

To foster an  ecosystem of arbitration in India, continuous reformation and implementation of its legislative aspect are required. Introduction of standardized approach such as recognition of arbitral institutions, accreditation of arbitrators, the time period for the completion of a statement of claims and defence etc. is somewhere a necessity to augment the effectiveness of arbitration system. In this regard:

  1. Arbitration and Conciliation Amendment Act 2019, emphasises on the creation of a self-governed body i.e. Arbitration Council of India (ACI) for the designation of the graded arbitral institutions and for performing several crucial functions such as the appointment of Arbitrators.
  2. In the accreditation of arbitrators both, graded arbitral institutions and professional institutions, Section 43D (2), recognized by ACI, will play an important role.
  3. Section 43J, of the Act brings in the norms for accreditation such as qualification, experience, etc, gave an introduction to a new schedule i.e. eight schedule which will provide the details related to the accreditation rules.
  4. 2019 Amendments, brings in the new aspect of arbitration i.e. institutional arbitration and hasn’t abolished the party autonomy or ad hoc arbitration. The meaning of arbitration still includes arbitration whether or not administered by the permanent arbitral institution. Before this proper introduction, Arbitration Institutions existed, however, desired legitimized recognition was not given to them.
  5. In Ad hoc arbitration, from a selection of arbitrators to the procedure of arbitration, everything needs to ascertained by the party themselves, however, in Institutional arbitration there are norms available for selection as well as the laws applicable to the proceedings. Both methods have their own advantages and disadvantages.
  6. With the introduction of accreditation of Arbitrators, young professionals with wholesome experience including enterprising lawyers at firms, litigation specialists, and persons with technical expertise can engage themselves as arbitrators

Eight Schedule enumerated a list specifying the qualifications and experience for the selection of arbitrators.

  • An advocate or chartered accountant or Cost accountant or company secretary (as per Indian Law) having ten years of practice experience; or
  • an officer of the Indian Legal Service; or
  • an officer with a law degree having ten years’ experience in legal matters related to the Government, Autonomous Body, Public Sector Undertaking or at a senior level managerial position in private sector; or
  • an officer with an engineering degree having ten years of experience as an engineer in the Government, Autonomous Body, Public Sector Undertaking, or at a senior level managerial position in private sector or self-employed; or
  • an officer having senior level experience of administration in the Central or State Government or having experience of senior level management of a Public Sector Undertaking or a Government company or a private company of repute; or
  • a person having educational qualification at degree level with ten years of experience in scientific or technical stream in the fields of telecom, information technology, Intellectual Property Rights or other specialised areas in the Government, Autonomous Body, Public Sector Undertaking or at a senior level managerial position in a private sector, as the case may be.