A recent Court of Appeal decision has extended the category of individuals protected by discrimination laws and put in doubt the validity of many arbitration clauses.
The Court ruled that arbitrators are "employees" for the purposes of religious discrimination law and, by implication, the other discrimination legislation too (as the same definition of "employee" is used throughout).
As a result, arbitration clauses which are discriminatory, for example because they place limits on the nationality or religion of an arbitrator, are unlawful and, subject to whether that requirement can be severed from the remaining arbitration clause, void. Permission to appeal the decision has been sought from the Supreme Court and for the Supreme Court to make a reference to the ECJ. (Nurdin Jivraj v Sadruddin Hashwani, CA)
A more detailed summary published by our arbitration team is available here.