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H V L AND OTHERS

Lloyd's Law Reporter

H V L AND OTHERS

[2017] EWHC 137 (Comm), Queen's Bench Division, Commercial Court, Mr Justice Popplewell, 3 February 2017

Arbitration - Removal of arbitrator - Potential bias - Arbitrator accepting two further appointments - Duty of disclosure - Arbitration Act 1996, section 24

Claims were brought against H and R in the US arising out of the same event, and in 2014 judgment was given against three groups of companies, allocating blame between them. Settlements were entered into. H had liability insurance in layers. The top layer insurer was L. H commenced Bermuda Form arbitration in London, each party appointed an arbitrator and the court appointed M (H's preferred candidate) as third arbitrator. In November 2016, after the appointment, M accepted appointment as arbitrator in two other arbitrations, each involving a claim by R against its insurers. In one of the arbitrations, L was the defendant and had itself appointed M. On 29 November H's solicitors raised these issues with M, his response was to rely upon the IBA Guidelines as not imposing any duty of disclosure. L sought to have M removed under section 24 of the Arbitration Act 1996 on the ground that a fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the facts, would conclude that there was a real possibility that M was biased.

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