On 8 November, the SCC announced on its website (click here to view the announcement) that as of 1 January 2018, the SCC Board will provide reasoned decisions on arbitrator challenges unless the parties agree otherwise. While in the past the SCC Board rarely gave reasoned decisions, since 2005 it regularly published reports on arbitrator challenges aiming to make their decisions more predictable. The last report was published in January 2016, summarizing the Board’s decisions on challenges made between January 2013 and December 2015 (click here to view the report). In this period, the Board sustained four and dismissed nine challenges. The Board’s reasons to sustain or dismiss a challenge are not named in the report; solely the ground for the challenge is described and the Board’s final decision on the issue.
The SCC’s report was a first step towards more transparency. The SCC now takes a further step, following the example of other leading arbitral institutions. The ICC, for example, has since October 2015 provided reasons for administrative decisions such as arbitrator challenges where all parties agree on it (click here to view the announcement). While under ICC-administered arbitrations this might lead to increased administrative expenses, the SCC announced that the administrative fees will not increase due to the new service.