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"The Arbitrators v Knowsley SK Ltd."

This case concerns the obligations of arbitrators in a Dutch arbitration case. The Dutch Supreme Court (DSC) held that:

(1) Under Dutch law, an arbitral tribunal is only obliged to inform the Parties of the procedure that the tribunal has decided to follow during the arbitration proceedings and to give reasons for the decisions taken during the arbitration proceedings, as well as to give reasons in the arbitral award itself. The arbitral tribunal is not obliged to ensure that a record is kept of what was said at an oral hearing.

(2) Article 843a DCPC, which obliges a party that is in a legal relationship with a different party to release a copy or summary of a document that pertains to that legal relationship to that different party does not apply in arbitration proceedings.

This decision makes clear that the obligations of arbitrators that are engaged to give a decision in arbitration proceedings are very limited and that arbitrators have a very great deal of freedom to decide in what manner proceedings will be conducted. This is the first time that the specific obligations of arbitrators toward parties that have requested those arbitrators to give a decision in arbitration proceedings have been defined in Dutch law.

An important lesson to be learned by anybody who wishes to embark in Dutch arbitration proceedings is that it is of paramount importance, before the actual arbitration proceedings commence, to make very precise agreements indeed with the tribunal and the opposing party concerning every detail of the arbitral procedure that will be followed. This is particularly important as the Dutch Arbitration Act and the rules of many Dutch arbitration institutes do not contain detailed rules on procedure
For a full discussion of this case see: www.onlinedmc.co.uk/index.php/The_Arbitrators_v._Knowsley_SK