Author(s): Nasiruddeen Muhammad, Fatima Bello
The nomination or appointment of arbitrators undoubtedly falls within the prerogative of parties to arbitration proceedings to choose their arbitrators. The exercise of such choice is legally conceived pursuant to the principles of party autonomy and equality of parties. However, in multiparty arbitrations, the alluded assumption may not be entirely accurate due to the problems that might trail joint nomination/appointment of arbitrators particularly where there are divergent interests among multiple claimants or respondents. The paper evaluates the underlying principles regarding appointment of arbitrators in multiparty arbitration and the extent to which parties must always be accorded the right to nominate arbitrators of their choice. In evaluating the principles, the papers rely on doctrinal legal method by examining relevant international Conventions and Treaties, Arbitral Institutional rules, Cases and Arbitral awards, and opinions of major publicists in the area. The paper finds that much as arbitration in general, and multiparty arbitration in particular revolves around the principle of party autonomy, and equality, there are compelling limitations to the freedom of parties to appoint arbitrators of their choice. Such limitations can be discerned from a purposive understanding of the same principles that supports the parties’ freedom to nominate and appoint arbitrators of their choice.