On March 31st, 2023, the India International Arbitration Centre (IIAC) released new regulations entitled “India International Arbitration Centre (Criteria for Admission to the Panel of Arbitrators) Regulations, 2023.” The IIAC was established and incorporated under section 3 of the India International Arbitration Centre Act, 2019 (17 of 2019) to provide a framework for the conduct of international arbitration in India. The IIAC is headquartered in New Delhi and has jurisdiction over disputes arising out of international commercial arbitration and investment arbitration.
The newly released regulations, which came into force upon their publication in the Official Gazette, specify the criteria for admission to the panel of arbitrators maintained by the IIAC. The panel of arbitrators is empanelled by the Chamber of Arbitration, which is provided for under section 28 of the Act and consists of experienced arbitration practitioners of repute, both at national and international levels, and persons having wide experience in the area of alternative dispute resolution.
The regulations provide that an applicant wishing to apply to be on the panel of arbitrators shall be a person having appropriate expertise and experience either in domestic arbitration, international arbitration or both and shall be of good standing and character. The application shall preferably be made online on the website of the Centre (www.indiaiac.org).
An application for empanelment as an arbitrator may also be made as per the form annexed to the regulations. The form shall be submitted to the office of the Registrar, who shall be the Member Secretary of the Chamber of Arbitration, accompanied by a non-refundable fee of ten thousand rupees in Indian currency or such fee as may be revised from time to time by the Centre.
The regulations specify that the Chamber of Arbitration shall empanel arbitrators on the basis of the following criteria:
(i) the applicant shall not be less than thirty-five years and not more than seventy-five years of age; (ii) the educational qualifications and experience of the applicant shall be largely relevant to the applicant’s field of expertise or of conduct of arbitration proceedings either as a sole arbitrator or as a member of any Arbitral Tribunal, within the last five years or otherwise related to the field of arbitration; (iii) the applicant shall furnish a statement that he has not been found guilty by a Court for any criminal offense or for misconduct after conduct of disciplinary proceedings and that no criminal case or any departmental proceeding is pending against him.
The regulations also provide that the Chamber of Arbitration may invite eminent persons having specialized knowledge and substantial relevant experience in the field of arbitration for being empaneled on the panel of arbitrators.