• Procedures


    Initiating arbitration at first instance: Having initiated the arbitration procedure, the claimant selects a member of the BCA panel of arbitrators - the list of names is available from the BCA. Even though an arbitrator signifies his or her willingness to act in the dispute, this does not mean he or she now becomes an advocate for the party who nominated him or her: all arbitrators act totally impartially. The selection of arbitrators should therefore be based on the specialist knowledge that they may have. A party may also ask the BCA to appoint an arbitrator on their behalf.

    The arbitration is deemed to have been initiated when the notice of appointment of the arbitrator is served on the defendant. The defendant then has 14 days to appoint a second arbitrator. If they fail to do so the claimant may ask the BCA to do so on their behalf instead, with copy to the respondent. All requests to BCA for appointment of arbitrators must include:

    • Brief details of the dispute;
    • The current BCA fee;
    • Evidence that the other party has been advised of the action to be taken;
    • A statement that London is the stipulated place of arbitration;
    • The name of the arbitrator already appointed (where applicable).

    Directions: Once the panel of arbitrators and umpire has been appointed and the arbitration registered with the BCA, the arbitrators will instruct the parties how the case is to be conducted.

    The claimant: will be instructed to submit, usually within 21 days or slightly longer, a clear statement of the problem, how it arose and the remedy sought. (It is not sufficient simply to state 'I claim an allowance' - if an allowance is sought then it must be quantified, e.g. 'US$ 4 per 50 kg is claimed on quality grounds').
    The statement must be in writing and must be supported by copies of all relevant documentation, including copies of exchanges between the parties. All should be catalogued, numbered and presented in chronological order and sent to the nominated arbitrators of both parties and to the other party to the dispute. If the dispute concerns quality the arbitrators will give directions on the production of the necessary samples.

    The respondent is required to respond, in writing, if the claimant so wishes. They too must provide all relevant documentation, properly catalogued, to all concerned and should specifically address the points raised by the claimant. Usually, 14 days are allowed for this - failure on the part of the respondent to respond leaves the arbitrators no option but to advise the parties that the case will be judged on the basis of the claimant's submission.

    It is a fundamental principle that claimants are allowed the final word and, usually, they are therefore given between 7 and 14 days to make any further observations on the submissions by the respondent.

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