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A critical feature of arbitration that distinguishes it from the judicial process is the ability of parties to select the decision-makers. For this reason, any developments in the challenges to the selection of arbitrators can be significant since they directly affect this key right. Fortunately, most arbitrators and arbitration counsel are sensitive to the importance of arbitrator independence and impartiality and the issues that might call these requirements into question, and, as a result, challenges are not that frequent. In recent years, however, there appears to be an increase in the overall number of challenges in international investment arbitrations, as well as an increase in the number of such challenges being granted. There also appears to be an increase in international arbitration challenges based on certain grounds, including challenges based on so-called “issue conflicts” and challenges based on repeat appointments. In addition, commentators report that more challenges are brought for purposes of delaying the arbitration and to obtain a tactical advantage. This article considers these developments and looks at how specific arbitral institutions have dealt with challenges.

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