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Preliminary Conference

  • Once nominated by an appointing agency or the parties express interest in appointing an arbitrator the arbitrator calls a preliminary conference.
  • The preliminary conference is ordinarily conducted by telephone conference.
  • If the preliminary conference is conducted by our Mr White then parties can expect to receive correspondence as set out below which, in effect, sets the agenda for the preliminary conference.

Sample Pre-Preliminary Conference Letter

Yesterday I was advised that I have been nominated by (nominating authority) to be the arbitrator of the dispute.

I accept that nomination.  

Please note that this does not mean that I have entered upon or declined to enter upon the reference.  

I propose to consider that matter at the preliminary conference.

I understand that the appointment is important and urgent.

I presume that the parties are legally represented.  

Please advise me urgently if this is not the case.

I intend that the following process now be adopted.

I propose to hold a preliminary conference at either (date1) or (date2) at 1600 by telephone/skype/videoconference.  

Please let me know by 1200, (date3) which day suits.  

Please also submit by that time (or shortly thereafter) any orders which you seek at the preliminary conference including any proposed jurisdictional challenge.

Please note that I will be able to hear any necessary interim measure hearing in the week commencing (date) (if necessary or appropriate) including any submissions as to whether or not I have to power to order such an interim measure and whether I should or should not exercise that power.

At the preliminary conference, the following should be achieved:

(a) The most expeditious process of dispute resolution including a timetable and steps will be agreed or fixed;

(b) The scope of the extant dispute by reference to appropriate notices shall be agreed;

(c) Whether or not the (appropriate commercial arbitration act) should apply to this arbitration shall be discussed and agreed;

(d) My fees and expenses shall be agreed;

(e) I will either enter upon the reference or decline to enter upon the reference;

(f) Following compliance with the timetable set down at the preliminary conference, I will hear the matter and promptly thereafter deliver a written award with reasons; and 

(g) Pursuant to the provisions of the (appropriate commercial arbitration act) the award will be final and binding on all the parties.

Please also note that I take this opportunity to disclose the following matters 

...I typically set out here all my dealings with each person involved in the arbitration including their legal advisers ... 

In my view none of constitute a conflict of interest or bias in relation to hearing this matter (if appropriate).

Please contact me by email with a copy to all parties if you have any questions.

Please also note that documents may be sent to me by email.

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