Expert promotes ethical values in arbitration
A counsel at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris, Mr. Tunde Ogunseitan has emphasized the importance of ethics in arbitration, saying it serves as a guideline.
According to him, ethics is not only needed in the conduct of arbitration proceedings but also in respect of the conduct of national litigation as it also affects arbitration.
His words: “Ethics provide clear and easily applicable solutions to otherwise thorny issues. It contains standards of conduct to help the playing field. It gives counsel guidance about what steps to take when ethical issues arises and it provides guidance and allow for remedies when there is misconduct.”
Ogunseitan stated this in a workshop series held at the Lagos Court of Arbitration with the topic ‘Ethics in International Arbitration’, organized by Akinwunmi and Busari legal practitioners.
Also speaking on the arbitrator’s obligation to disclose information as part of the arbitrator appointment process, Ogunseitan said at a more abstract level, disclosures promote transparency and confidence and at a practical level, they assure that parties and administering institutions have information that might be the basis for challenging or evaluating challenges regarding the ability of an arbitrator to serve.
He said: “The UNCITRAL Model law requires in Article 12(1) disclosure of facts that are likely to give rise to justifiable doubts as to the arbitrator’s impartiality or independence, but provides in article 12(2) for disqualification only when circumstances give rise to justifiable doubts about an arbitrator’s to impartiality and independence.
A partner at Babalakin & Co, Dr. Bayo Adaralegbe stated that private system that grew out of party autonomy principle requires public legitimacy or approval through sound ethical practices that produce fair and binding results.
He said: “Ethical duties and their sources in international arbitration are found in both binding hard laws and best practice soft laws.
“The hard law consists of national laws where there is local bar rules on professional conduct and discipline and applicable domestic law on arbitration and soft law comprises of codes, guidelines and rules of international bodies.”
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