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ASA Town Hall 2023 Report: Conflicts of Interest and Disclosure 

By Christian Oetiker, Nadja Jaisli Kull, and Prabhjot K. Singh 

At the inaugural ASA Town Hall, the ASA Community came together on September 29, 2023, to explore the vital theme of conflicts of interest and disclosure. The report reflects the collective wisdom of 140 participants engaged in focused discussions. 

This collaborative effort yielded key insights on: 

Arbitrators’ Disclosure and Relationships: In the discussion of arbitrators’ disclosure and relationships, participants emphasized the critical need for disclosure when arbitrators serve concurrently with counsel in unrelated cases. This led to a consensus on the importance of transparency in maintaining trust. 

Relationships Between the Arbitrator and a Party: Regarding relationships between the arbitrator and a party, there was widespread acknowledgement of the challenge in defining terms like “personal interest” or “financial interest”. Participants affirmed the sufficiency of current rules, recognizing their adaptability to various situations. 

Issue Conflicts: In the realm of issue conflicts, scepticism emerged among participants about the necessity for additional regulations. This viewpoint was founded on the belief that existing frameworks adequately address potential conflicts arising from previously expressed views. 

Third-Party Funding: The topic of third-party funding prompted an agreement on the necessity of disclosing the involvement of a third-party funder, along with revealing their identity. This was viewed as a crucial step in maintaining transparency and ensuring impartiality. 

Social Media and Conflicts of Interest: When considering social media and conflicts of interest, discussions revealed divergent opinions on the extent to which social media posts can create conflict issues. However, a consensus emerged on the need for self-restraint, especially during ongoing arbitrations. 

Regulation: In the area of Regulation, the ASA Community recognized the IBA Guidelines as the cornerstone of conflict-of-interest assessment. Participants stressed the importance of a unified standard and expressed support for the existing framework. 

This report, a culmination of insights from 140 participants, exemplifies the power of collaborative efforts within the ASA Community. Read the full report for a detailed exploration of these critical topics. 

Christian Oetiker, Nadja Jaisli Kull co-chairs of ASA Town Hall 2023.