Tribunal secretaries can make proceedings faster, cheaper, and, in some respects, can protect the integrity of the resulting award. They do this by lessening the tribunal’s administrative burden, allowing it to concentrate on its core work of considering the dispute and coming to a decision. Despite these potential benefits, the position of tribunal secretary has attracted a degree of criticism, at the heart of which is the fear that a secretary will exercise the tribunal’s decision making power.

A recent decision

Justice Popplewell’s decision in P v Q demonstrates tribunals’ wide procedural discretion, including with respect to the role of tribunal secretaries. In the context of tribunal secretaries, parties ought to bear in mind that they are granted broad autonomy with respect to the arbitral process, and they are accordingly free to agree to safeguards to reduce the risk of impropriety by a tribunal secretary; or to prohibit a secretary’s use entirely.

Read full article here: Tribunal Secretaries Back in the Limelight- Ashurst


Georgia Quick: Partner, Sydney
Sam Kay: Associate (QLD), London