The UK Supreme Court has overturned the decision of the Court of Appeal in Jivraj v Hashwani, a case which caused uncertainty in the arbitration field earlier this year (see our earlier alert here).

The Court of Appeal had held that arbitrators were employees and therefore subject to anti-discrimination legislation.  As a result an arbitration agreement which specified that an arbitrator must be of a specified nationality or (as in the Jivraj case) religion, was unenforceable.  This result risked undermining the popularity of England as a seat of arbitration and there has been much relief at the Supreme Court’s decision that arbitrators are not employees and that parties are now free to make reasonable stipulations for the nationality or religion of an arbitrator.