A team of Three Crowns’ lawyers appeared before the UK Supreme Court this week on behalf of the ICC Court in the case of Halliburton Company (Appellant) v Chubb Bermuda Insurance Ltd (Formerly known as Ace Bermuda Insurance Ltd) (Respondent).
The underlying arbitration concerns a disputed insurance claim by Halliburton arising from the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. During the course of that arbitration, Halliburton learned that the chair had accepted an appointment as Chubb’s party appointed arbitrator in another related reference also arising from the Deepwater Horizon incident, but had failed to disclose such fact in the Halliburton arbitration. As a result, Halliburton applied to the High Court for removal of the chair under Section 24 of the English Arbitration Act 1996, arguing that these circumstances had given rise to justifiable doubts as to the chair’s impartiality.
The English High Court, in the first instance, rejected Halliburton’s challenge. Halliburton appealed this decision before the Court of Appeal, where too Halliburton’s challenge was rejected. Permission to appeal was subsequently granted to the UK Supreme Court on the following two issues:
- whether and to what extent an arbitrator may accept appointments in multiple references concerning the same or overlapping subject matter with only one common party without thereby giving rise to an appearance of bias; and
- whether and to what extent he/she may do so without disclosure.
The ICC was granted permission to intervene along with, inter alia, the LCIA and CIArb as institutions representing the broadest possible international constituency of users, with the same or similar concerns about the Court of Appeal’s decision. Constantine Partasides QC delivered the ICC Court’s position on these questions before the Supreme Court. The Three Crowns team also included Todd Wetmore, Alexandra van der Meulen, Maanas Jain, Nicola Peart and Ridhi Kabra.« Back