what should i consider in selecting an arbitrator?
if they are appropriately qualified to arbitrate. designations - such as those governed by the adr institute of canada - are a good indicator.
while it is hard to believe, arbitration is an unregulated profession.
in fact, i have seen several offer arbitration services without any arbitration training or experience. this is not to suggest that those without training or experience cannot be good arbitrators, it is to point out that checks + balances may be needed.
to receive an arbitration designation from the adr institute of canada, one must complete training + pass an exam. they must adhere to a code of conduct, keep up with continuing education + maintain insurance coverage. i find it is easier to look to a designation to confirm this criteria than to inquire about each listed item individually.
designation alone is not enough in my opinion. it is often comforting to involve an arbitrator with subject matter expertise - an understanding of the subject matter of the dispute + familiarity with the legal structure around such. i am of the belief that it is important for a decision maker to empathize with the parties involved in a dispute. subject matter understanding is a way to equip them to do so.
finally - and the importance of this may vary - the timing of the arbitrator's release of their award may be important, too. often, a benefit of arbitrating is receiving closure more promptly than one would get from a court. there can be many reasons for an arbitrator delaying the delivery of their award - from managing a busy schedule to writer's block. while many rules + codes provide a deadline for an arbitrator to provide their award, relying on such alone may not be good enough.
if timely closure is important to you, i suggest confirming decision delivery timing with your arbitrator as you appoint them. i offer a decision timing guarantee that includes a financial disincentive for me to delay the delivery of my award. i ensure that i give myself enough time to properly deliberate + have not missed a deadline yet. my clients often take comfort in knowing when they can expect my award.