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Posted by Mr. Alexander G. on Feb 15th, 2016 2:29pm

Although there are no decided cases in Canada, pre-appointment interviews by either counsel or the client, even in the absence of opposing counsel, are not forbidden or considered unethical.  Rule 4.4.1 of the IBA Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest in International Arbitration, adopted by resolution of the IBA Council on Thursday 23 October 2014, for instance, provides that an arbitrator that has had an initial contact with a party, or an affiliate of a party (or their counsel) prior to appointment, is not disqualified if this contact is limited to the arbitrator’s availability and qualifications to serve and the discourse did not include any discussion on the merits or procedural aspects of the dispute, other than to provide the arbitrator with a basic understanding of the case.  With appropriate measures to mitigate against any possible allegation of impropriety, pre-arbitration interviews between a party and a potential arbitrator remain a possibility and should be encouraged to manage expectations.  

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