Authors Agree: More Information About Arbitrators Needed

“Arbitration counsel want to win.” That is how a recent article by Edna Sussman begins. She goes on to explain that “Understanding how arbitrators think, what they favor, how they make decisions, and how they work together can guide counsel in devising their strategy and developing their presentations. For their part, arbitrators want to provide a fair hearing that meets the parties’ needs.”  In responding to these needs, Sussman explains how information is the answer, even for other arbitrators. “Knowing how other arbitrators handle various procedural aspects, what influences their thinking, and what they prefer can inform arbitrators in conducting their own arbitrations most effectively.” To help provide that information, Sussman introduces results from a survey in which she asked arbitrators about their case management preferences, which hold many interesting insights.

Edna’s survey examines arbitrator preferences in the aggregate, but an article by Ema Vidak-Gojkovic, Lucy Greenwood and Michael McIlwrath seeks to provide information about particular arbitrators. In Puppies or Kittens? How To Better Match Arbitrators to Party Expectations, these authors identify similar need for more information about arbitrators. The solution they propose is a self-evaluative questionnaire, where arbitrators specify certain case management preferences, including approaches to information gathering, use of tribunal secretaries, and the like. In their article, the authors propose that responses

What these and other efforts have in common is that they signal general dissatisfaction with the lack of information about arbitrators and a desire to open up the black box. Arbitrators’ preferences and track records should not be precious little secrets, accessible only to a few. This information is too important to parties in selecting arbitrators and in framing their case strategy.  More, equally accessible information will increase the efficacy and enhance the legitimacy of international arbitration.


To read more about Edna Sussman’s Arbitrator Survey see

To read more about the Puppies and Kittens survey see