On 25 May 2013 the International Bar Association, widely known for promotion of high standards in international arbitration, has adopted the Guidelines on Party Representation in International Arbitration. It is stated on the IBA’s web site that this document was inspired by the principle that party representatives should act with integrity and honesty and should not engage in activities designed to produce unnecessary delay or expense, including tactics aimed at obstructing the arbitration proceedings.
New IBA Guidelines address important issues of party representation, ex parte communications with arbitrators, truthfulness of arbitration submissions and other information exchange and disclosure standards. The document also covers the role of party representative in preparation witnesses and experts and establishes remedies for misconduct of the parties or their representatives.
As well as IBA’s previous documents, the Guidelines on Party Representation in International Arbitration are not obligatory, unless adopted by agreement of the parties to arbitration or by arbitral tribunals. The Guidelines are not intended to displace otherwise applicable mandatory laws, professional or disciplinary rules, or agreed arbitration rules, in matters of Party representation as well as not intended to derogate from the arbitration agreement or to undermine either a Party representative’s primary duty of loyalty to the party whom he or she represents or a Party representative’s paramount obligation to present such party’s case to the Arbitral Tribunal. Considering the above, we are still to see how the document is used in practice.
The International Bar Association was established in 1947 and is now the world’s leading organization of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. It has considerable expertise in providing assistance to the global community and established an Arbitration Committee to address issues specific to international arbitration. In this field, the IBA has previously passed guidelines that include IBA Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest in International Arbitration (2004), on Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration (revised in 2010), Guidelines for Drafting International Arbitration Clauses (2010) as well as ethics and other materials.