|Diversity is about bringing together collective knowledge, wisdom and comprehension, born from an array of skills and experiences, in order to ensure a high-profile quality of the decisions to be respected and followed. The benefits of diversity reflect on team-work, productivity and decision-making process of an arbitration tribunal and through the various stages of the arbitration proceedings.|
|Having studied law in multiple jurisdictions, I noticed that women have been as numerous as their male counterparts in law schools. In India, where I worked as an Associate in a leading law firm. I noticed that the same was also the case at the Associate level as well. Yet, growth of female lawyers whether it is a Partner at a law firm or General Counsel at a multi-national corporation, is not always the case and this is often referred to as the women's 'glass ceiling'. In 2015, for instance, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre registered less than a quarter of female arbitrator appointments.|
|In order to achieve greater diversity, all actors playing a role in the field must act together. With respect to arbitration, not only arbitration institutions but even law firms, arbitrators and bar associations have vital roles to play and take concrete actions to ensure gender diversity while simultaneously benefiting the community. The author in this essay thus delves into the lack of gender diversity as well as regional and ethnic diversity in arbitration tribunals and how it is important for arbitration institutions to play an essential role in maintaining diversity.|
|There are several reasons for a lack of diversity amongst members of an arbitration tribunal with no doubt, overt discrimination and unconscious bias being some but not the only factors. A career, which requires long working hours or frequent international travel across the globe may not always turn out to be practical especially for women who have childcare responsibilities. This is a major impediment for women who want to establish a career in international arbitration, which operates across several jurisdictions and hence requires international travel. The author disagrees with the notion that women practitioner are significant minority and hence not often chosen as a member of the arbitration tribunal.|
|Furthermore, parties are rightly, looking to appoint senior and experienced arbitrators who have an excellent track record. However owing to the fact that there a fewer women in senior legal roles such as a partner of a law firm for example, the pool of women lawyers available to be appointed as arbitrators is quite small and parties may also have limited access to information about suitable candidates especially because much of the arbitration process is confidential. In such a scenario, it can be very difficult for a female lawyer to break in and be appointed as an arbitrator especially since the same arbitrators often tend to be appointed repeatedly again and again thereby leading to the creation of a small of arbitrators that is mostly male dominated.|
|This is also known as 'pipeline leak' and refers to a solid resume that one can build in order to become a successful arbitrator through legal education, experiences etc.|
|A diverse arbitration tribunal is in my opinion, an indispensable requirement akin to a diverse judiciary being an indispensable requirement for any democracy. Diversity in an arbitration tribunal not only ensures equity and equality amongst genders but also may improve the quality of decision-making since different perspectives result in better decisions. Lack of diversity may lead to a failure on part of the arbitration tribunal to understand a party's point of view. Gender diversity will also introduce 'fresh blood' on arbitration tribunals and this is necessary in order to widen the pool of arbitrators. Widening the pool of arbitrators in turn will give greater choice to parties to select an arbitrator and also lead to fewer conflicts.|
A) There is lack of only gender diversity in arbitration tribunals.
B) There is lack of only gender and regional diversity in arbitration tribunals.
C) There is lack of gender, regional and ethnic diversity in arbitration tribunals
D) There is lack of only regional and ethnic diversity in arbitration tribunal.
Correct Answer: C
Solution :(c) In order to achieve greater diversity, all actors playing a role in the field must act together. With respect to arbitration, not only arbitration institutions but even law firms, arbitrators and bar associations have vital roles to play and take concrete actions to ensure gender diversity while simultaneously benefiting the community. The author in this essay thus delves into the lack of gender diversity as well as regional and ethnic diversity in arbitration tribunals and how it is important for arbitration institutions to play an essential role in maintaining diversity.
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