Appointing an arbitrator
Arbitration is a non-judicial process for the settlement of disputes where an independent third party – an arbitrator – makes a decision that is binding. The role of an arbitrator is similar to that of a judge, though the procedures can be less formal and an arbitrator is usually an expert in their own right.
Arbitrations may only proceed if all parties agree to go to arbitration (unless prescribed in statute). Typically, there will be a clause in a contract that states what dispute resolution mechanism is to be used in the event of a disagreement. However, in the absence of a contract, for arbitration to take place all parties must agree. You cannot force the other parties to enter into such an arrangement.
The costs involved in arbitration vary on a case-by-case basis which makes it difficult to determine the total upfront. The arbitrator will set a fee, often an hourly rate. Fees will vary depending on the rate of the professional. If a hearing is required, the costs might increase further if venue fees are required. In addition, parties might want legal representation.
The Centre can appoint arbitrators, subject to a request made by a party or parties. The process is administered by the Court of the Scottish Arbitration Centre (COSAC), which is independent of the Board of the Centre. COSAC will use its knowledge of the domestic and international arbitration sector to appoint an arbitrator in a dispute. COSAC has discretion when it comes to making appointments but in proposing or appointing an arbitrator shall have regard to the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge and R.E.A.L (Racial Equality for Arbitration Lawyers.
If you are considering arbitration or requesting that the Centre assists you in appointing an arbitrator, you should first read our directions and guidance and criteria for domestic and international appointments and consider the application form carefully. These documents can be found in our resources section.
On receipt of a valid application to appoint an arbitrator, along with the £300 administration fee, the Centre informs COSAC whether a domestic or an international appointment is required and requests the President of COSAC to convene a meeting of the appropriate members to consider the application and make an arbitral appointment.
We give each member of COSAC a copy of the application. COSAC meets and makes the appointment as soon as reasonably practicable and within two weeks of receipt of the application unless directed otherwise by the Centre.
Any queries should be directed to Davide D’Aleo (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the first instance.
Court of the Scottish Arbitration Centre (COSAC)
President of COSAC
Sarah P L Wolffe, KC (The Hon Lady Wolffe), is a Professor and Honorary Professor, respectively, of the Law Schools of Strathclyde University and Edinburgh University. Her areas of research and teaching include commercial and insolvency law, and civil justice.
Immediately prior to assuming these professorships (November 2021), Sarah sat as a Commercial Judge in the Court of Session, the first woman to be so appointed; presiding in that capacity in 2016 to 2017 and 2018 to 2021. She was appointed to the Court of Session, Scotland’s Supreme Courts, in 2014.
Other current appointments include: Senior Legal Chair of the Financial Reporting Council, General Council Assessor on the Court of Edinburgh University; Commissioner, Marshall Aid Commemoration Committee, President of the Stair Society (promoting the study of Scottish legal history); Honorary Chair of the Edinburgh Centre for Commercial Law; Member of the Advisory Board for Women in Law (University of Edinburgh); and member of the Executive of the Conference on European Restructuring and Insolvency Law (CERIL).
Sarah was called to the Scottish Bar in 1994; appointed a standing junior to the DTI (and successors) in 1996; took silk in 2008 and was a founding member of Axiom Advocates, practising principally in Commercial and Public law.
She contributed to or was the Scottish editor of several editions of MacGillivray on Insurance Law (including the 15th ed) and of Director’s Disqualification. She was one of the UK members on the Expert Group on professional indemnity insurance of the CCBE (Council of European Bars and Law Societies). Prior to judicial appointment, Sarah was Chancellor to the Bishops (of two dioceses) in the Scottish Episcopal Church. Sarah was born in the United States. Her first degree was from Dartmouth College (graduating Summa cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa). Following post-graduate studies at Balliol College, Oxford, she graduated from Edinburgh University LLB with Distinction. She is a trained mediator.