[POSTSCRIPTS]: One interesting feedback that I get from an Architect was, "Can an Architect be a Quasi Arbitrator?" To answer that, we ought to ask the question as to whether Arbitration is a business of Law or Architecture? The question led me to search any legal case that address such and I found that there is indeed one!
An argument arise when the business of architecture also include being arbitrator or more aptly known as quasi-arbitrator. What is ‘quasi-arbitrator’? There is no legal definition of ‘quasi-arbitrator’, and the closest are given as:
Per Lord Reid, “person who undertake to act fairly have often been called quasi-arbitrator […] all persons carrying out judicial function must act fairly […] there is nothing judicial about an architect’s function in determining whether certain work is defective. There is no dispute. He is not jointly engaged by the parties. They do not submit evidence as contentious to him. He makes his own decision and comes to his own opinion.”
Per Lord Salmon, “[…] no more reason for regarding the architect as being in the same position as a judge or arbitrator than there is for so regarding the Valuer […] The descriptions 'quasi-arbitrator' […] have been invoked but never defined. […] Judges and arbitrators have disputes submitted to them for decision […] evidence and the contentions of the parties are put before them […] They then give their decision. None of this is true about the valuer or the architect who were merely carrying out their ordinary business activities. Indeed, their functions do not seem to me even remotely to resemble those of a judge or arbitrator.”
Arbitration falls within the ambit of law, not architecture as the saying goes, when you have a dispute, you go to the lawyers, not the architects. Therefore, it cannot be said that arbitration is an extension of the knowledge, study and practice of architecture and the various arts and science connected therewith.
 Sutcliffe v Thackrah 1 All ER: at p.864
“IF ITS AIN’T BROKEN, IT’S NOT WORTH MENDING” – A LOOK INTO A ‘DYSFUNCTIONAL’ DISPUTE CLAUSE
This article attempt to demonstrate how a scenario requiring a ‘legal advice’. The scenario given is fictional, but the application of law mirrored real event. Any resemblance of the character in this scenario, to anyone alive or dead or any institution existed or non-existent, is purely coincidental.
[SCENARIO]: ‘Sure-win’ and ‘Must-win’ enter into a contract issued by ‘Malu-Usia’ Society of Project-Managers (“MSPM”), hereinafter ‘MSPM-Form’. The form contains an exclusion clause fine-printed, “parties are held to rely on their judgement when using this form of contract and MSPM takes no liability whatsoever to anyone in connection with the usage of the form”. The dispute clause contained therein, state “Any dispute, arising out of or relating to this contract, shall be finally determined by arbitration, by applying to the President of Malu-Usia’ Society of Project-Managers (“MSPM”) to appoint an Arbitrator, in accordance with the MSPM Arbitration Rules in force at the time of the commencement of the arbitration.”
Parties went into dispute. Sure-win commence arbitration by an application to MSPM President, as they cannot agreed to one another on the candidate of the arbitrator. The parties foresee that an ‘institutionalize administered arbitration’ would be fair and just. An arbitrator was appointed and the proceeding went on as usual. The counsel of ‘Must-win’ found out that the constitution of incorporation of MSPM in accordance with the Society Act of Malu-Usia, does not contain any provision that MSPM can accord any services of alternative dispute resolution (‘ADR’). In fact, all statutes of Malu-Usia mirrored those of the Malaysian Law. The counsel pose a challenge that due to the alleged dysfunctional of the dispute clause, his client Sure-win’s position has now been prejudiced on the basis that he has been misled fraudulently by MSPM through the use of the MSPM-Form. ‘Sure-win’ is contemplating to sue MSPM.
You are appointed by MSPM. Discuss on the point of law, the legal implications of both your client and Sure-win.
To consider the legal implications of both Sure-win and MSPM, [THE ISSUES] are: foremost, whether MSPM has the jurisdiction to provide services beyond what has been incorporated in its object of incorporation in accordance to the law? If so, whether MSPM breaches the law? If so, whether the MSPM President has the power to appoint arbitrator for the parties as in accordance to the provision of the dispute clause? If so, whether the President is acting on its personal capacity in such an appointment or in the office of the MSPM President? If so, whether the President has acted in ‘ultra vires’ against the object of the society he represented? If so, whether the dispute clause is dysfunctional due to the illegality of the dispute clause itself on the context of the severe lack of inherent jurisdiction of the society to provide such services? Is it not an ad-hoc arbitration that the MSPM President is at liberty to choose who he wishes? If so, whether the party has been fraudulently misled? Ultimately, who is liable?
[THE LAW] holds that: foremost, a society cannot provide any means of services that is not prescribed in its objects of incorporation. Further, the law also provided that, a President is an individual who acted in its capacity as representative of the society as an ‘office-bearer’ in accordance to the Act. In addition, the law provides that ‘misrepresentation’ is, being an unambiguous ‘false statement of facts’, addressed to the party misled, inducing the ‘victim’ into entering a contract. However, the law assumes that one commits fraudulent misrepresentation, which is a criminal offence, and the burden of proof is vested upon the defendant. As for the ‘fine-prints’, the law allows that terms can be incorporated by notice, where it must be given before the time of concluding the contract, terms must be contained/referred in the document i.e. contractual, reasonable steps be taken to bring the term to the party’s attention i.e. a ticket must be explicit, with a clause not in-front of ticket (not incorporated), reference to clause is obliterated (not incorporated), reference to a website (incorporated), and ‘more unusual and unreasonable’ is the clause, higher degree of notice is required. Finally, the issue of illegality in contract law, it holds that illegality comes in different ‘sizes and shapes’ and it is difficult to categorise. Generally, it covers ‘commissioning of a legal wrong’ or ‘contracts against public policy’. Illegality affect the contract in two ways, ab-intitio as to its formation and ‘in the performance’, i.e. whether a party entitle to sue to recover losses despite the illegality, on such basis he was unaware of the illegality? What if the party has knowledge about the illegality, he is unable to sue. The subject of the contract is made illegal ab-intitio, i.e. against the law.
[THE EVIDENCE] shows that: MSPM’s object of incorporation, does not contain any provision that MSPM can accord any ADR services. If so, whether the President is acting on its personal capacity in such an appointment or in the office of the MSPM President? By the act of the MSPM President, he in his capacity as an office-bearer, not representing himself, but the society and has acted ‘ultra-vires’ against the object of the society. Thus, whether MSPM has the jurisdiction to provide services beyond what has been incorporated in its object of incorporation in accordance to the law? The short answer is, ‘no’ as the law forbade it.  If so, whether MSPM breaches the law? MSPM has not only crossed the law, the society is tantamount to be deregistered.
If so, whether the MSPM President has the power to appoint arbitrator for the parties as in accordance to the provision of the dispute clause? Although the dispute clause require the President to appoint arbitrator, it is evidence that MSPM itself has no provision to accord ADR services. As such an illegal act cannot be contracted. 
If so, whether the President has acted in ‘ultra vires’ against the object of the society he represented? The President of MSPM has taken unto his own hand to perform an illegal act, on behalves of the society, knowing well that he has not accorded with the jurisdiction to do so. The powers [jurisdiction] has to be laid down from the constitution to the office-bearer. In its absent, where is the power to act?
If so, whether the dispute clause is dysfunctional due to the illegality of the dispute clause itself on the context of the severe lack of inherent jurisdiction of the society to provide such services? The original intent and purpose of the dispute clause is not dysfunctional. But arising from the illegality of performance by the President of MSPM, in breaching the very fundamental Act of the incorporation of the society, the dispute-clause, which is by itself a formal contract. The question of is severability in this case is irrelevant. Thus the object of a contract [dispute resolution services] cannot be illegal. Such consistent with the recent ruling that holds the dispute clause is governed by the law of contract, not the seat. Thus, the question how can such dispute clause, drafted so carefully to avoid any ‘pathological defects’ can be dysfunctional? The short answer, is the ‘act of appointing the arbitrator’ itself is made illegal, given this context.
Is it not an ad-hoc arbitration that the MSPM President is at liberty to choose who he wishes? The evidence shows that foremost, parties cannot agreed to one another on the candidate of the arbitrator, so they went to MSPM for institution administered arbitration. The parties foresee that an ‘institutionalize administered arbitration’ would be fair and just. This consideration, in itself, is res ipsa loquitur that arbitration is to be held as an instruction administered arbitration, not ad-hoc.
The evidence shows that the constitution of incorporation of MSPM does not accord any ADR services to be rendered. This lead to the next question, if so, whether the party has been fraudulently misled? It is undoubtedly, a contract exist between the user of the form and MSPM. The law holds that ‘misrepresentation’ is, being an unambiguous ‘false statement of facts’, addressed to the party misled and the law assumes that one commits fraudulent misrepresentation, which is a criminal offence, and the burden of proof is vested upon the defendant. Has the President aware of such false statement? Has he not aware of the constitution of the society he holds as office-bearer? Obviously, he has committed a crime.
Ultimately, who is liable? The evidence shows that ‘Sure-win’ position has now been prejudiced on the basis that he has been misled fraudulently by MSPM by virtue of the MSPM-Form. In the said form, it was fine-printed, “parties are held to rely on their judgement when using this form of contract and MSPM takes no liability whatsoever to anyone in connection with the usage of the form”. Can this be said to be an ‘exclusion clause’ for liabilities against MSPM? The law holds that terms can be incorporated by notice, where it must be given before the time of concluding the contract and ‘more unusual and unreasonable’ is the clause, higher degree of notice is required. Since the exclusion term is incorporated in the document, although as a fine print, it is legible and constitute a valid exclusion clause. In other words, contract advisors who does not strike out the dispute clause and replace with another more legitimate arbitrator appointing institution, had the greater chances to be liable. Notwithstanding such the MSPM with its entire retinue of office-bearer are criminally liable as to the effect of the breaches to the Act. Criminal offences cannot be contracted out.
[Concluding]: The fundamental breach is where the office-bearer, has been contracted to act illegally against the Act. The legal impacts are not only the dispute clause made dysfunctional, but include therein criminal offences and contractual liabilities to the contract advisors, namely Project Managers, Architects and QSes. Thus, caveat emptor.
POSTSCRIPT: Upon reading this article, Contract Advisors will have a field day of striking off and amending the dispute clauses, by making sure the institutionalize arbitrations are legitimate in accordance to the law, while lawyers with adverse award, will be lining up in court to set aside due to unenforceability and the police will start knocking at the door of the ‘illegal society’.
 Asia International Arbitration (‘AIAC’) model dispute-clause: ‘any dispute, controversy, difference or claim arising […], including the performance, breach, termination or invalidity thereof, as well as any non-contractual claims’
 International Commercial Court (‘ICC’) model dispute-clause: ‘or in connection with’
 ICC model dispute-clause: ‘settled’
 S. 13.(1)(c)(iii) Societies Act 1966 (‘SA1966’): ‘[the Registrar] may, in the following cases, cancel the registration of any society registered […] (c) if the Registrar is satisfied – (iii) that the society is pursuing objects other than the objects with which the society is registered;’
 S.2 SA1966: ‘office-bearer: means any person who is the president […]’
 Kleinwort Benson v LincolnCC.2AC349
 Brennon v BoltEXCACiv1017
 Renault v FletproEWCH2541
 Hedley Byrne v HellerAC465
 Derry v Peek(1889)14AppCas337
 Barclays Bank v O’Brien1AC180
 Esso v MardonQB801
 Olley v Marlborough Cort1KB532
 Chapleton v BarryUDC1KB532
 Taylor v GlasgowCorp.(1952)SC440.21
 Wilkes v Jessop(2007)CLY795
 Parker v SE.Railway(1877)2CPD461; Thompson v LMS. Railway1KB41:exclusion clause incorporated even if claimant was illiterate; Richardson,Spence v RowntreeAC217:in contrast if defendant knows claimant is illiterate
 Thompson v LMS.Railway1KB41 and Thornton v ShoeLane Parking2QB163:not given notice, not incorporated.
 Interfoto v StilettoQB433
 Handerson v Stevenson(1875)LR2Sc&Div470
 Sugar v LMS Railway1AllER172
 Impala Warehouse v WanxiangEWHC25(Comm)
 J.Spurling v Bradshaw1WLR461
 Johnson v DriefonteinAC484
 Re Mahmoud and Ispahani2KB716
 St.John Shipping v Joseph Rank1QB267
 Shaw v Groom2QB504
 Marles v Philip Trant1QB29
 Asmore Benson v AV.Dawson1WLR828
 St.John Shipping v Joseph Rank(1957)1QB267
 S.2 SA1966
 S. 13.(1)(c)(iii) SA1966
 Re Mahmoud and Ispahani2KB716
 S.49 SA1966
 Arbitration agreement is severable from the contract in which it is contained. Any challenge relating to the validity of the underlying contract will generally not affect the validity of the arbitration agreement.
 Enka v Chubb  UKSC 38
 Latin for "the thing speaks for itself."
 Kleinwort Benson v LincolnCC.2AC349
 Brennon v BoltEXCACiv1017
 Hedley Byrne v HellerAC465
 Derry v Peek(1889)14AppCas337
 Barclays Bank v O’Brien1AC180
 Esso v MardonQB801
 Olley v Marlborough Cort1KB532
 J.Spurling v Bradshaw1WLR461
 Chapleton v BarryUDC1KB532
 Let the buyer beware
MALAYSIA DAY SPECIAL: ‘UNITY IN DIVERSITY’ OF DIFFERENT SEATS WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF MALAYSIA?
Postscript: In a similar decision about the application of the seat in the jurisdiction of Malaysia, the case of Tekun Cemerlang, it procures a similar decision that, West Malaysia lawyers are prohibited to represent disputants in CIPAA Adjudication where the seats are in Borneo. The repercussions spark suggestion that unlike arbitration, statutory adjudication has no seat. Such opinion rely on the provision of CIPAA, as its basis or argument, consistent with the Latin maxim of “generalia specialibus non derogant”. As of now, the decision remains.
 Tekun Cemerlang Sdn Bhd v Vinci Construction Grands Projets Sdn Bhd  11 MLJ 50
 s.15, Advocates Ordinance (“AO”). The finding of the HC is in contrast with the provision of CIPAA (Section 8(3) of the CIPAA provides that parties to an adjudication proceeding “may represent himself or be represented by any representative appointed by the party”.
 Chaw G, “Statutory Adjudication in Malaysia and ‘Sabah Proceeding’: A Paradox”, , 3 MLJ, p.10: the concept of a ‘seat’, which is part of the legal framework of arbitration law, does not exist in the law and practice of adjudication.
 ss 13, 15 and 16 CIPAA 2012
 a special law prevails over a general law
This article attempts to address a ‘celebration of diversity’ in our Malaysia-Day, where even the law seems to be given a different interpretation to achieve unity in diversity by the Federal Court in the recent judgement of Masenang Sdn Bhd v Sabanilam Enterprise Sdn Bhd , that has resulted in a tug-of-war of conflicting judgements between the HC in Kuala Lumpur and that of the HC of Borneo (“the conundrum”). To resolve this issue once and for all, the Federal Court holds that foremost, “The seat of a domestic arbitration cannot simply be said to be Malaysia. The seat is usually specified to be, for example, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, or Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, or Penang, Malaysia, as the parties see fit to choose in their arbitration agreement or as determined by the arbitral tribunal pursuant to section 22 AA”; second, “the regulation and supervision of domestic arbitration is NOT governed by the law governing civil disputes such as the CJA which determines jurisdiction by ascertaining where the cause of action arose. It is the AA and arbitral law that governs this issue even in domestic arbitrations”; third, “the theory of the juridical seat is in point of fact directly relevant and essential in domestic arbitrations”; and fourth, “[…]the seat of a domestic arbitration is in Kuala Lumpur [falls within] the jurisdiction of the High Court in Malaya, the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak enjoys concurrent jurisdiction to regulate that proceeding […] would not be the correct position in law [the AA] recognises that the supervisory court is the court at the seat of the arbitration. No such contravention or conflict with Art 121 of the Federal Constitution can arise”.
In a nutshell, the finding of the court consistent with the arbitration law adopted by the ADR-community, that court will find in favour the ‘supervisory-court’ that follows the ‘judicial-seat of arbitration’ (‘seat’) agreed by the parties or determined by the arbitrator, when the seat is not determine. However, the novelty of the findings of the FC in contrast with that of the Court of Appeal, is that the seat applied to domestic arbitration has to be clearly stated as to the ‘place of arbitration’ i.e., Kuala Lumpur, Sabah or Sarawak. This imply that the application of ‘private international law (‘PIL’) in international commercial arbitration and to some extend of ‘forum non conveniens’ is applicable, a basis that the Appeal Court denounce the issue of the seat as irrelevant in domestic arbitration, as both the states of Malaya and Borneo, are under Malaysia and both share the same jurisdiction, including that of AA 2005. On the onset, this may look like ‘hair-splitting’ legal arguments to the minute-details that defied logic, but the intention is noble, that is to avoid a repeat of such conundrum.
Unlike the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom (‘UK’), Scotland is an entirely different jurisdiction, adopting the civil-law approach, as compared to England and Wales (‘EW’), with its common-law approach. Therefore, a domestic arbitration seated in Scotland is entirely different from one that is seated in EW. Both jurisdictions employed a different set of arbitration law, namely, Scotland with its Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010, adopted the UNCITRAL Model-Law, while EW, the Arbitration Act 1996 (of England), that has more provision compared to the Model-Law. Thereupon, it makes sense as to state the actual place of arbitration in the English context, but for Malaysia, as a jurisdiction, that will be a novelty.
As it is, the finding and judgement of the Federal Court is binding. I can’t help to acknowledge myself as Malaysian yet is different from my counterpart in Sabah and Sarawak. Perhaps such is what it meant by ‘unity in diversity’. Happy Malaysia-Day, we are One ‘Diverse-Family’.
 Federal Court Civil Appeal No.: 02(i)-20-03/2020(S)
 Arbitration Act 2005: Seat of Arbitration
 Op-cit, para 185
 Ibid, para 140: “Applying the well- known Latin maxim of generalia specialibus non derogant, a special law prevails over a general law”
 Ibid, para 170
 Ibid, para 169
 Article 121: […] (a) one of the States of Malaya, which shall be known as the High Court in Malaya and shall have its principle registry in Kuala Lumpur; and (b) one in the States of Sabah and Sarawak, which shall be known as the High Court in Borneo and shall have its principle registry at such place in the States of Sabah and Sarawak […].
 Federal Court Civil Appeal No.: 02(i)-20-03/2020(S), para 136
 Conforming to the principle of party autonomy.
 Conflict of laws
 Another forum or court is more appropriate to hear the case
CAN A NON-INDEPENDENT ARBITRATOR ACTS INDEPENDENTLY?
Postscript: An interesting paper shed some lights on the subject of ‘independence’, a rarely explore subject in the field of arbitration. It states, the requirements for impartiality has been enshrined in ICC-Rules, LCIA-Rules, UNCITRAL-Rules, UNCITRAL-Model Law, AAA-Construction Industry Arb. Rules, IBA-Rules on Ethic, IBA-Guidelines on Conflicts, ICSID-Rules and also the Malaysia Arbitration Act 2005. Interestingly the UK arbitration Act 1996 is silence on this provision of being, ‘independent’ and the question is why? Such omission is deliberate as in the ‘DAC Report’, ‘[Inclusion] of independence would give rise to endless arguments […] almost any connection (however remote) has been put forward to challenge the ‘independence’’. This shows that the term, independent and impartial ought to be distinguished. The dictionary prescribed, independent as, ‘free from outside control’. Challenge on the notion of ‘independence’ has been diverse, i.e. conflict of counsel and the nominated arbitrator, in a personal injury case where the recorder is in conflict with both counsels and the classic case of Porter v Magill.
 Stuart Allen, Barristers’ Chambers in England and Wales: The Role of Impartiality and Independence in International Arbitration, LLM,RGU
 S.14(1) Malaysian Arbitration Act 2005 (AA)
 Julian, Loukas, Stefan, Comparative Commercial International Arbitration (1st ed. Kluwere Law Arbitration 2003),p.255-273
 Lord Justice Saville, ‘DAC on Arbitration Law 1996 Report on Arbitration Bill’ 13(3)102
 Oxford Dictionary (3rd.ed.Oxford University Press 2018)
 Brescia Calcio SpA v West Ham FC Plc  ISLR, SLR40; ICC Case No.1653/GZ
 Smith v Kvaerner Cementation Foundation  EWCA Civ 242
  UKHL 67
Neutrality, independence and impartiality, the three key criteria of dispute resolutions be it arbitration, adjudication, determination or mediation. Various attempt has been made to clarify the positions of these criteria, but the notion of independence herewith is given a different perspective as to: what is the meaning of independence? Can a person who is not independent acts independently? If so, can a decision by an arbitrator who is not independent be challenged?
Definition given to ‘independence’ are generally referred to private, professional or business-related relationships of the arbitrator to the parties or counsels involved in the arbitration; “likely to give rise to justifiable doubts”; Whereas an independent arbitrator is one who does not have any type of personal and/or employment relationship, needed to ensure that justice is seen to be done; Independence refers to objective and external manifestation of the relationship between the parties, counsels and co-arbitrators; and shall not only be independent but he shall also be perceived as independent by third parties.
The standard of independence however, is subject to the institution’s rules or the seat of the arbitration but generally, common law jurisdiction will follow the English position of “the real danger of bias” test which are very specific. Thus, the question of independence and bias boils down to, can a person who is not independent acts independently?
Who is a person deemed not independent? In this context, can a person under an employment of another person be deemed independent? Unlikely so, because this person under employment is constantly under the influence of the employer, via the employment agreement, bound in some jurisdiction under the Employment Act. There is no obligation for the employer to make any disclosure to its employee, thus how can an employee in this instance, and in return, has sufficient knowledge to make any disclosure, while acting as an arbitrator without risking the “real danger of bias” implication? Even if the employer has consented, it will be very subjective through a third-party perspective that such an employed arbitrator can discharged its duty independently.
If so, can a decision by an arbitrator who is not independent be challenged? The law holds that a person who is approached in connection with that person’s possible appointment as an arbitrator shall disclose any circumstances likely to give rise to justifiable doubts as to that person’s impartiality or independence. An arbitrator may be challenged only if, the circumstances give rise to justifiable doubts as to that arbitrator’s impartiality or independence.
In summary, it is important for institution administered arbitration, to make sure not only a declaration is made that the potential arbitrator could discharged its duty independently, it must also confirm that the arbitrator is independent, unlikely to be under an employment of any private entities, as the rule under the “real danger of bias” test is also held in Malaysia.
 <https://www.ciarb.org/resources/features/independence-and-impartiality-of-arbitrators/>: Bruno Manzanares Bastida, ‘The Independence and Impartiality of Arbitrators in International Commercial Arbitration from a Theoretical and Practical Perspective’ (2007) 6 Revist@ e-mercatoria 1, 3 < https://ssrn.com/abstract=1491528> accessed 5 April 2012
 Model Law generally follows the IBA Guidelines: Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, Lise Johnson and Fiona Marshall, ‘Arbitrator Independence and Impartiality: Examining the Dual Role of arbitrator and counsel’ (2011) International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) 12 < http://www.iisd.org/pdf/2011/dci_2010_arbitrator_independence.pdf > accessed 5 April 2018.
 Malintoppi, L., Part III Procedural Issues, Chapter 20 - Independence, Impartiality, and Duty of Disclosure of Arbitrators, in Muchlinski, P. T., Ortino, F. and Schreuer, Ch. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of International Investment Law, 2008, p. 807
 < https://jusmundi.com/en/document/wiki/en-arbitrators-impartiality-and-independence>
 <http://www.davidyek.com/adr/lessons-on-arbitrals-impartiality-halliburton-v-chubb>: Halliburton v ChubbUKSC48: the ‘real possibility of apparent bias’ by Lord Hodge
 S.14(1) Malaysian Arbitration Act 2005 (AA)
 Low Koh Hwa @ Low Kok Hwa (practising as sole Chartered Architect at Low & Associates) v Persatuan Kanak-Kanak Spastik Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan and another case  MLJU 430
THE THREE-TENETS OF ARBITRATION, WHICH HELD SUPREME?
Some issues in arbitration that warrant some answers as to the question of party autonomy to agree on an ‘asymmetrical arbitration clause’ or an ‘unilateral option clause’ UOC, allowing one party rights to commence litigation; the question of independence and impartiality when a member of the tribunal was found to be in the apparent conflict with a witness of opinion called by the party; and the question of public policy where an award is rendered unenforceable arising from a sanction levy upon the country where the assets are located. These issues went to the ‘core tenet’ of arbitration being, party autonomy; independence and impartiality; and public policy rule. Which of these should take precedent over the other?
An ‘asymmetric-clause’ is a ‘one-sided agreement’ allowing one party ‘option to choose’ dispute resolution mechanism to self-advantages; contains therein the ‘unilateral option clause’ UOC, granting one party right to elect between arbitration or litigation, i.e, “[…] shall have the right to refer any dispute […], to a competent court in […] or any other competent court in any other country at […] sole discretion.” The criticism is obvious, as it lacks a ‘level playing field’, impeding into the equalities of the party to be heard, thus from an act of party autonomy to the obstruction of natural justice, commonly employed by specific industries i.e. banking and the construction sectors; contrast to the nature of arbitration to have ‘finality’ only to be reviewed by another court of competent jurisdiction; and promote the idea of ‘forum shopping’. Courts between common-law and civil-law are divided, i.e. UK, Hong Kong, the UAE and Singapore recognises UOC whereas Russia (issued a Digest) and France rejected UOC outright, thus it is now a question of public policy versus party autonomy, which remains supreme over the other? In the lacked of a consistent approach, party autonomy principle is not entirely absolute as it has to be view against the principle of public policy, as in the case of equality, public policies shall then take precedent.
Common that in a three-member tribunal, one party may raise a concern that an witness of opinion appointed by the other party must be excluded by the tribunal as the witness of opinion concerned was once a partner to a member of the tribunal thus the issues of conflicts and impartiality of the tribunal is now, in question. The criticism is one cannot just keep changing the member of the tribunal simply by introducing a witness of opinion that has conflict with any member of the tribunal, notwithstanding that the sole witness of opinion is the most unique available in the industry, such may not discount any attempt to employ ‘guerrilla tactics’ to derail the arbitration. Tribunal is confronted with the issues of impartiality versus natural justice, which held supreme? Impartiality has always been the cornerstone to the dispensation of justice. The law holds, threefold tests of bias, actual, imputed, apprehended or apparent bias. Actual bias is difficult to proof; imputed bias, once presented, will void the submission without proof of investigation into its likelihood or suspicion of bias; and apparent bias, is where a reasonable-public could harbour a reasonable-suspicion of bias and there is a sufficient degree of possibility of bias. There is little clarity on this as such the IBA Guidelines on Conflict, has provided Lists to categorically measure the degree of ‘conflicts’ but without the application of ‘case-specific judgment’, it remains just as ‘guidelines’ or ‘soft laws’. The recent case law shed some lights where court set aside an award on the basis of arbitrator apparent bias, in conflict with public-policy, breaching the rules of natural-justice. The court holds, the arbitrator must, statutorily, make full and timeous disclosure, which are likely to give rise to justifiable doubts as to the arbitrator's impartiality or independence, which would enable a 'fair-minded and informed observer' to decide objectively on whether there are justifiable doubts on the arbitrator's impartiality and/or independence. Therefore, considered that impartiality has always been the cornerstone to the dispensation of justice, tribunal would just have to consider the expert opinion just liked any other ‘witness’ and to draw its own conclusion as to the reliability of such ‘opinion’ and on such, the question of ‘independent and impartiality’ does not really surface.
With regard to sanction as public policy, two distinctive issues, one ‘non-arbitrability doctrine’ with regard to which law to apply in challenging the validity of the award? Second, the validity of sanction making an arbitration inarbitrable. Arbitrability, ‘involves …types of issues can and cannot be submitted to arbitration’; viewed as ‘objective’, matters can be arbitrated; and ‘subjective’, who can resort to arbitration. ‘Inarbitrability’, can challenge enforcement of arbitral award; public policy as basis of inarbitrability; fundamental to comply, tribunal must consider which lex arbitri, substantial law or lex fori, applicable? Sanctions are temporary restrictive, whereas public policy fundamentally legal-principles, stable to political changes. When sanction was imposed, binding only if parties could have known that they would be subjected to this rule, otherwise, they might selected another law, in which sanction would give effect only if they satisfied the conditions external to the applicable-law. Thus, public policy ultimately overrides party autonomy as to choose which forum as preferences.
On such account, among the three-tenets of arbitration, very likely that the following shall be the order of priority, independence and impartiality; public policy; and party autonomy.
 NB Three Shipping v. Harebell Shipping  EWHC 2001 (Comm); Deutsche Bank v. Tongkah Harbour  EWHC 2251 (QB)
 A3 v B3  ADGMCFI 0004: citing Pittalis v Sherrefettin  2 All ER 227
 Hong Kong Court of Appeal ( 3 HKC 580) and decision by the Singapore Court of Appeal ( SGCA 32).
 Sony Ericsson v Russia Telecom  No.1831/12
 UOCs also applied the Brussel I Regulation and the Lugano Convention. Arbitration agreements and therefore UOCs to arbitration are outside the scope of the Lugano Convention, Brussel I Regulation and its successor, Recast Brussels Regulation; The Rothschild Case  No 11-26.022;
 R v Sussex 1KB256; Findlay v UK 24EHRR221; W v M EWHC422(Comm)
 R v Gough AC646
 Porter v Magill 1UKHL67; Re Medicaments(No.2) 1WLR700
 Halliburton v ChubbUKSC48
 World Duty Free Co. v Rep. of Kenya ICSID Case No. ARB/00/7; R v Alex Julian Pabon  EWCA Crim 420.
 Gary B.Born, International Commercial Arbitration (Born, 2nd Ed.) p.243.
 <http://arbitrationblog.practicallaw.com/implications-of-economic-sanctions-on-international-arbitration>: some scholar opined that disputes involving economic sanctions are ‘arbitrable’
 Loukas A.Mistelis and Stavros L.Brekoulakis, Arbitrability: International and Comparative Perspectives, Int.Arb.Law.Lib.Vol.19 (Mistelis and Brekoulakis), pp.3&4, para.1-6.
 Emmanuel Gaillard and Domenico Di Pietro, Enforcement of Arbitration Agreements and International Arbitral Awards: The New York Convention in Practice (Cameron, 2008 Ed.), p. 503.
 Karl-Heinz Bockstiegel, Public Policy and Arbitrability, in Pieter Sanders (ed), Comparative Arbitration Practice and Public Policy in Arbitration, ICCA Congress Series, Volume 3 [Bockstiegel], p. 178: MODSAF v IMS  EWCA Civ 145
 George A.Bermann, Introduction: The Origin and Operation of Mandatory Rules, in Mandatory Rules in International Arbitration (Bermann & Mistelis Ed.2011) p.4.
 Melli Bank v Holbud Ltd  EWHC 1506 (Comm); DVB Bank SE v Shere Shipping Co Ltd  EWHC 232
 Art.V(2)(b)ML: allows the refusal of enforcement when enforcement would be ‘in contrary to the public policy of that country’; Westacre Investments Inc v. Jugoimport-SDRP Holding Co Ltd  EWCA Civ 1401
 Bockstiegel, pp. 184 and 185.
 Semanya v IFFA  4A 318/2018
The recent completed CIArb Convention started with the opening address by the Hon Chief Justice stressing on the current amended Arbitration Act 2018, with particular to sec 42, on the removal of opt-in/out of UNCITRAL provision, that may posed new challenges to the bench, as more judges needed to be informed on these aspects of the Arbitration Act and the role of AIAC to see to it as a refreshing call. The recent case of View Esteem and Leap Modulation had to be given a new perspective that the bench needed to be given more role with emphasis on Court Assisted Arbitration, in one way, to curb the widening cartel of arbitrations and to deliver justice to the masses in an affordable way as arbitration has in these days an expensive affair.
In contrary, the Director of the AIAC spoke at length on the roles that the centre has paved to speed up the arbitral process such as document only arbitration, Islamic arbitration, fast track arbitration and the sort at affordable costs and categorically denied the cartel role of the AIAC as reflected in the Appeal Court decision of Leap Modulation, citing contempt of court to anyone who would dare to cite such archaic decision that was soon to be expunged in the Federal Court.
Further discussions centralized on the 3rd Party Funding TPF in arbitration that has taken root in other arbitral jurisdictions liked in Singapore and Hong Kong and may see the light in Malaysia in the near future. The forum seek to impart the mechanism of TPF:
1. TPF as a party in arbitration;
2. to the statutory disclosure of the funders;
3. funding through insurance;
4. the amendment to the legal profession to allow lawyers to be involved in such funding;
5. mitigation of such funding;
6. the funding agreement as opposed to insurance policy agreement;
7. risk in funding as in 3 times the return of investment;
8. Multi-tier due diligent processes and so forth…
The objective of TPF is to allow access to the arbitral process to everyone making it financially manageable, in the rise of escalating commercial disputes in the road and belt initiatives and the opening of emerging markets where every arbitral regimes would want to have a lion shares on this. The Director of the AIAC is fast to ask if indeed such initiative liked the TPF would only opened more avenues for money launderings and what are the mechanism installed to manage such risk, the forum, was surprisingly, has very little answer to it but to cite for statutory disclosure of the funder and the source of the funding.
Sharing the Hong Kong Arbitral regime’s experience, aside from the TPF, the process of mediation has taken a centre stage. Managed by the HK Mediation Council, the current Civil Justice Reform 2013 has brought about mediation as a compulsory pathway before litigation, very much liked the Court assisted Mediation and as the matter of fact, Arbitrators are allowed to be the mediator. Alongside with this mediation initiative, the special administrative region has also introduced the Apology Ordinance as to promote apology, notwithstanding rights of the party to remedy, to prevent dispute. Singapore has picked up such mediation processes in their Mediation Act 2017, allowing foreign lawyers as mediators and party’s representatives. The Singapore Government has also taken up mediation as in the recent SIDP – Singapore Infrastructure Management of Dispute Protocol allowing the setting up of Dispute Board DB as a proactive dispute avoidance initiative, comprises of the 3 neutrals of Architects, Engineers, QS and Lawyers, and sits regularly in meetings and at site, dishing out options for dispute managements. The floor however, has view such initiative as adding another layers into the ever complex route for dispute resolutions with escalating costs.
In matter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), article 9.6 and the role of the arbitral regime post US led initiative, focused on the notion of overly biased support of trade versus the interest of the state. In any case, the state may be sued by the trading parties on matter of treatment standards that may be seen fair and equitable to the trading party but may not be the same to the state. In other words, there may be no protection to the state, unless otherwise the “umbrella clause” has been cast-in.
The last order of the day, brought the question of dependency of expert witness into the centre stage where one speaker spoke with whim and fancy on the notion of “dirty” versus “clean” experts that eventually throw the pendulum off tangent. The apex of the discussion was a suggestion to eventually “hot tubbing” these experts, until an equitable decision could be narrowed down, with emphasis on the following notable conundrums;
1. “ships passing in the night”;
2. Address different question;
3. Assuming different facts;
4. Following different facts;
5. Inadequate explanations;
6. Unintelligent explanations, among others…
As the closure, the discussions were centralized between tribunal appointed experts versus parties appointed experts and the needs for the conclave of experts with or without the presence of the lawyers that may risked making things even more complicated, before the expert report has been exchanged.
DYA+C is set up by Ar. DAVID YEK TAK WAI to undertake resolution of commercial disputes through ARBITRATION and ADJUDICATION, specializing in CONSTRUCTION PAYMENT DISPUTES.
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