The Scottish Arbitration Centre has always had a focus on diversity and inclusion. We have gender parity on our Board and more women than men sit on our new Court, which has a female President – Lady Wolffe KC. We have also always welcomed staff from other countries and different backgrounds.
We have now enshrined in our new Rules the need for those appointing arbitrators to have regard to the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge and objectives of R.E.A.L. (Real Equality for Arbitration Lawyers).
Article 8 of the Scottish Arbitration Centre’s 2022 Rules of Arbitration, entitled “Appointment of Tribunal – Equality, Diversity and Neutrality,” contains an express reference to the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge and R.E.A.L. (Racial Equality for Arbitration Lawyers).
The provision reads:
“8.1 In proposing or appointing any arbitrator under the Rules, the parties, their counsel, any appointed arbitrator and the Centre shall have regard to the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge and R.E.A.L. (Racial Equality for Arbitration Lawyers).”
We are not aware of other arbitration rules with such provision, so adopting our Rules will assist parties looking to increase diversity and equality. Of course, we also hope that our stance will encourage other arbitral institutions to amend their rules to include such provisions.
Encouraging diversity and inclusion in arbitration is not just about ensuring representation for different communities but about enriching the quality of arbitrations and choices for parties wishing to engage in arbitration. Increasing representation for women in arbitration is an important part for that aspiration. We might have only launched our Rules and related administrative services, but the Scottish Arbitration Centre wants to be at be considered professional and progressive from the start.
Submitted by Andrew Mackenzie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Arbitration Centre