BVI Arbitration Group

4:00pm - 5:00pm

13th March WEDNESDAY

Session IV: Arbitrator Subject-Matter Expertise: Benefit or Burden?

The ability to select and appear before arbitrators with factual subject matter expertise is considered a great advantage of arbitration over litigation, and parties generally prefer that those deciding their disputes really understand their disputes.  But, how great an advantage is an arbitrator’s pre-existing subject matter expertise?


For example, in disputes involving construction, energy, and fintech, do veterans of those industries or lawyers who have mostly represented players in those industries have lasting advantages as arbitrators over blank slate arbitrators?  Are there risks that conflicts of interest will multiply or that natural justice will be denied if an arbitrator has too much or too specific subject matter expertise?  Do any such risks, if realized, imperil enforcement of arbitral awards?


All of these issues and more will be raised by a panel of arbitrators with general and specific expertise, with views that vary amongst themselves and that may well differ from those attending this interactive session.



  • Nicholas Burkill, Ogier
  • Natalie Reid, Debevoise & Plimpton
  • Paul Klaas, Maitland Chambers