During his speech at the 21st International Council for Commercial Arbitration (“ICCA“) Congress on Monday, Singapore’s Attorney-General, Sundaresh Menon, called on the international arbitration community to self-regulate, put in place a code of conduct and ensure practitioners are up to acceptable standards.
Mr Menon raised particular concerns about “runaway” costs of arbitration and suggested that a unified code of conduct should be put in place to serve as a reference guide for arbitrators globally. The code would include rules on the fixing of costs.
Mr Menon also discussed the possibility of arbitral bodies acting as regulators in the way Bar associations do for lawyers and said that arbitral bodies could impose sanctions based on an internationally approved list of penalty benchmarks.
Mr Menon ended on a positive note however, saying: “The growth in numbers is testament to the fact that, despite all the worries and concerns that I have canvassed, arbitration is still the only choice for many who seek resolution to their disputes“.
Agreeing with Mr Menon’s comments about the need for self-regulation Professor Jan Paulsson, president of ICCA, said in his closing speech: “The time to innovate and reform is when you do so from a position of strength, not when you are heading to crash in the sand and are doing so out of desperation“.
What do you think? Should more be done to regulate arbitrators? Do we need more controls on costs?