THE ADVOCATE 233
VOL. 77 PART 2 MARCH 2019
A VIEW FROM
By Richard Olson*
The British Columbia International Commercial Arbitration Centre (the
“Centre”) is continuing its review and revision of its rules and procedures
as part of its long-term strategic plan, which was adopted by the Centre’s
board in 2015. The most recent project has been updating the rules regarding
panelists. Members of the Centre’s panels form the pool from which the
Centre draws individuals to put forward to parties to arbitrations as candidates
for appointment to an arbitration tribunal (usually as a sole arbitrator
or the chair of a panel of three).
Previously, individuals became panelists through the following process.
The Centre provided a list of criteria for appointment to the panels (domestic
and international). Those criteria were considered by the Centre’s board
of directors when an application was made to be included on one or both
panels. However, there were no clear rules about continued membership
on the panels or whether a panelist could be suspended or removed from a
panel, and if so on what grounds.
The Centre’s Rules Committee revised the criteria and drafted rules to
clarify the appointment process and the scope of the Centre’s jurisdiction
to deal with continued membership and issues arising from a finding of, or
potential, misconduct by a panelist. This latter issue has been heightened
by the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Hunt v. The Owners, Strata
Plan LMS 2556,1 in which an award was set aside because of ex parte communications
between members of the arbitration tribunal and counsel for
one of the parties. The court found that those communications created a
reasonable apprehension of bias.2
The draft Panel Membership Rules were circulated to panelists for comment
and posted on the Centre’s website for comment. As a result, the draft
* Richard Olson is a director of the Centre. He is also associate counsel at McKechnie & Company. He advises on commercial,
real estate and commercial tenancy disputes and sits as an arbitrator on commercial and real estate disputes.