The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) and Cortex Capital have launched a collaboration called ‘The Usual Suspects Project’ with the support of a number of organisations including Herbert Smith Freehills. The project examines the decision-making process behind the selection of party-appointed arbitrators. The project will also reveal how factors such as diversity are considered in the appointment process.

During Hong Kong Arbitration Week, Cortex Capital partnered with the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) to create a survey to explore how arbitrator appointments are understood by major arbitration players in Hong Kong, as well as the wider global arbitration community. The aim of the survey is to “unlock the black box” of party appointments, with vital input from those in the arbitral community who have a role in the decision-making process. Dr Ula Cartwright-Finch, project lead and Managing Director of Cortex Capital, says: “Picking arbitrators is a seriously spicy topic. It goes to the heart of arbitration as a process: efficacy, legitimacy, enforceability – everything. But how parties do it is such a mystery. Unpacking the decision-making process will be fascinating in its own right but it’s also an essential one if we’re serious about de-biasing those decisions.”

The survey is open to all arbitration users and arbitration counsel. To participate in the survey and share your understanding of the arbitrator appointment process, please follow this link.