New World Expedition Yachts LLC v. P.R. Yacht Builders Ltd.

In Admiralty Practice, Judgments and Enforcement of Judgments on (Updated )

This was an application under the International Commercial Arbitration Act to set aside an award of an arbitrator relating to the construction of a ship. The applicant argued, inter alia, that the award should be set aside on the grounds that the arbitrator was biased. The bias allegations included that there were private communications with the arbitrator and that there was a close and familiar relationship between counsel and the arbitrator. With respect to the issue of private communications, the Court noted that the arbitrator was asked to act as both mediator and arbitrator and that any private communications took place in the context of the mediation. With respect to the relationship between the arbitrator and counsel, the Court noted that arbitrators are often chosen from practicing lawyers in a specialized area who know one another. The Court considered the fact that first names were used did not give rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias.