By Philip Teoh
ROLE AND FUNCTION
Arbitration has very clear advantages in disputes between two parties of different nationalities. More often than not, the appointment of an arbitrator or constitution of an arbitral tribunal takes time. Urgent action may need to be taken prior to the constitution of the tribunal to preserve evidence, goods which may be perishable, indirect publishing of confidential information by commencing legal action, all of which will defeat intended arbitration. Either local or national court may provide interim urgent remedies but it is not confidential hence requiring local counsel.
An emergency arbitrator can be appointed expeditiously. The emergency arbitrator is not a part of the intended pending arbitral tribunal. Emergency arbitrators are not appointed by parties, the power to appoint must be accorded in institutional arbitration rules. An emergency arbitrator will be accorded wide powers to grant necessary conservancy powers. He is empowered temporarily until intended arbitral tribunal is constituted. Once constituted, the arbitral tribunal is not bound by the emergency arbitrator’s orders and has the option to confirm, vary, adopt or set aside orders made.