In this final instalment of the “Understanding Arbitration: A Guide for Businesses” series, we focus on the essential strategies for a successful arbitration experience for users. Through the preceding discussions, we’ve navigated arbitration’s fundamental principles and strategic nuances. The journey from understanding its basic tenets to exploring the critical considerations in arbitrator selection, evidence strategies, and handling delays has provided a comprehensive view. The overarching goal remains to enable businesses to leverage arbitration effectively as a dispute resolution tool. Today, we converge on practical recommendations that can significantly impact the arbitration process, ensuring it’s conducted efficiently, fairly, and with a focus on problem-solving.

Choosing the Right Arbitration Forum and Seat

Choosing the right arbitration forum and seat is pivotal. The forum defines the institutional framework and rules, while the seat, typically a geographical location, sets the legal jurisdiction. Consider the reputation and experience of the forum in similar disputes and the legal environment of the seat, ensuring it is neutral and supportive of arbitration. The choice impacts procedural rules, available arbitrators, and the enforceability of the award.

1. Criteria for Selection:

a. Forum: Evaluate the arbitration institution’s reputation, rules, and administrative support. Consider their experience in handling disputes similar to yours.

 b. Seat: Look for a neutral and arbitration-friendly legal environment. Ensure the local laws support arbitration and recognise arbitration agreements and awards. Account for geographical location, accessibility, and language barriers.

2. Institutional vs Ad hoc:

a. Institutional Arbitration provides a structured process with administrative support, established rules, and a list of arbitrators.

b. Ad hoc Arbitration allows for more flexibility but requires parties to manage the process, which can be challenging.

3. Impact on the Process:

a. Forum: The choice of forum can significantly affect the procedural rules, the pool of arbitrators, and the administrative support you will receive.

b. Seat: The seat determines the procedural laws governing the arbitration, the court’s role in supporting the arbitration, and the enforceability of the award.

Drafting Arbitration Agreements

A well-drafted arbitration agreement is foundational. Here are essential steps and considerations in drafting one:

1. Key Terms to Include:

a. Scope of Disputes: Delineate the disputes that are subject to arbitration.

b. Arbitration Forum and Seat: Specify the arbitration institution and legal jurisdiction to administer the process.

c. Arbitrator Selection: Detail the procedure for selecting arbitrators.

d. Governing Law: Indicate the law governing the arbitration agreement and proceedings.

2. Ensuring Clarity:

a. Avoid Ambiguity: Use clear and precise language to prevent potential misinterpretations.

b. Pathological Clauses: Be wary of drafting errors or omissions that could hinder the arbitration process. According to Frédéric Eisemann, an effective arbitration clause should (1) produce mandatory consequences for the parties, (2) exclude state court intervention in dispute settlement before the issuance of an award, (3) empower arbitrators to resolve arising disputes, and (4) establish a procedure for an efficient, swift award rendering that’s enforceable judicially. A clause becomes pathological when deviating from any of these elements, with the degree of defectiveness depending on the extent of deviation. Precise drafting avoids such pitfalls, ensuring a smoother arbitration process.

3. Considerations for Special Provisions:

a. Multi-party or Multi-contract Situations: Draft provisions to address complex arbitration scenarios.

b. Confidentiality: Specify the confidentiality level and the measures to maintain it.

4. Review and Revise:

a. Legal Review: Engage legal experts to review the agreement to ensure it aligns with relevant laws and arbitration rules.

b. Continuous Improvement: Reflect on past arbitration experiences to refine the agreement, addressing any identified shortcomings.

5. Common Pitfalls to Avoid:

a. Incomplete Agreements: Address all necessary details in the agreement. Vague agreements may result in uncertainties during the arbitration process.

b. Unrealistic Provisions: Avoid including provisions that may be impractical or difficult to enforce. Unrealistic expectations can hinder the effectiveness of the arbitration process.

c. Ignoring Legal Advice: Adhere to advice from legal professionals during the drafting process to ensure compliance with applicable laws.

Pre-Arbitration Checklist

Before starting the arbitration process, thorough preparation is essential. A well-organised checklist at this stage is instrumental. The following are critical components of a pre-arbitration checklist:

1. Document Preparation:

a. Gather all relevant documents related to the dispute.

b. Organise these documents logically to ensure easy access and reference.

c. Keep copies of critical documents securely to prevent loss or damage.

2. Legal Team Selection:

a. Choose a legal team with a strong track record in arbitration.

b. Ensure the team has a solid understanding of your industry and the nature of the dispute.

c. Establish clear communication channels with your legal team for seamless coordination and information exchange.

This preparation saves time and is a strategic measure to address potential challenges during the arbitration.

Preparing for Arbitration

Straightforward Case Narrative: Develop a clear and concise narrative of your case. This helps articulate arguments and enhances communication with the arbitrator, fostering a better understanding of the complexities involved.

Witness Preparation: Invest time in preparing witnesses for testimony. Their clarity and consistency can significantly impact the case. Anticipate potential questions and ensure witnesses are well-versed in their responses. Parties should also ensure they exhibit adequate care and thoughtfulness in drafting witness statements and affidavits. The documents must be concise with a seamless flow of facts for better understanding. Where all these standards are upheld, the efficiency of proceedings is enhanced.

Legal Research: Stay updated on relevant legal precedents. A comprehensive understanding of legal principles strengthens your position and provides a basis for persuasive argumentation.

Active Participation

Active participation is vital to navigating the arbitration process effectively. A primary aspect of this participation involves maintaining open communication channels during arbitration. Clear, timely communication with your legal team and the arbitral tribunal ensures that all parties stay informed and respond adequately to developments. Additionally, adhering to deadlines for submissions is crucial. Submitting necessary documents on time helps uphold the arbitration timetable, contributing to a more efficient process. Engaging actively, communicating effectively, and adhering to submission deadlines are simple yet impactful steps towards a successful arbitration outcome.

Managing Costs

Prudent financial planning is vital for a smooth arbitration process. Initially, creating a budget helps outline the estimated costs, encompassing legal fees, arbitrator’s charges, and administrative expenses. A well-thought-out budget aids in resource allocation, ensuring financial readiness. Moreover, strategising to reduce costs is beneficial. Choosing a single arbitrator, selecting a cost-effective arbitral institution, and employing technology for document management and virtual hearings are advisable. Additionally, a well-drafted arbitration agreement can mitigate the risk of procedural disputes, which could escalate costs.

Preserving Confidentiality in Arbitration

A significant feature of arbitration, which makes it attractive, is its promise of confidentiality. Maintaining confidentiality is crucial as it protects sensitive details and promotes the integrity of arbitration. Parties must be proactive in ensuring that the confidentiality of proceedings is preserved.

From the outset, parties should emphasise the need for confidentiality in the arbitration agreement. This sets the tone from the inception and may facilitate parties’ cooperation. The confidentiality clause should state each party’s obligations as it relates to the confidentiality of proceedings.

The need to ensure confidentiality should equally be a yardstick for choosing arbitrators. Parties should identify some soft skills expected from an arbitrator that prioritise confidentiality of proceedings.

Other best practices and procedures for confidentiality in arbitration include using secure hearing facilities. If proceedings will be held virtually, secure applications with the appropriate encryptions should be prioritised. Witnesses and experts can augment confidentiality by signing non-disclosure agreements, etc. These measures will provide a robust framework that maintains the confidentiality of proceedings.

Post-Arbitration Actions

Upon conclusion of arbitration, enforcing awards becomes a primary concern. Initiating enforcement proceedings in the relevant jurisdiction ensures compliance. Concurrently, a dissatisfied party may consider challenging the award if there are legitimate grounds for dissatisfaction, adhering to the stipulated timeframe and guidelines. Reflecting on the arbitration process is equally crucial. Assessing the effectiveness of strategies, the performance of the legal team, and the overall dispute resolution approach fosters a learning culture. This reflection refines future arbitration strategies and enhances the business’s dispute resolution framework for better outcomes in subsequent arbitrations.


Arbitration provides a structured pathway to address disputes. The emphasis is on making wise initial choices regarding the arbitration forum and crafting clear agreements. A thorough pre-arbitration checklist, active engagement, innovative use of technology, and cost management are pivotal elements that drive the process. Actions post-arbitration, encompassing award enforcement and process reflection, are integral for legal and organisational enhancement. Adopting a forward-thinking approach to arbitration management, learning from past engagements, and staying abreast of legal and technological shifts can markedly uplift the dispute resolution process, yielding positive repercussions for the business in subsequent engagements.


The insights presented in this blog post aim to furnish readers with a broad understanding of arbitration within the context of global business. This material does not purport to provide legal advice, but rather serves as an informative resource. Specific decisions concerning arbitration and its relevance should always be made in consultation with qualified legal experts. Given the intricate variations and legal implications of arbitration across different jurisdictions, it is paramount to collaborate with legal professionals well-acquainted with the precise legal framework pertinent to your circumstances.

If you find this content valuable and have further questions, or if you require guidance on the detailed aspects of arbitration, please feel free to reach out to our dedicated team at We stand ready to guide you through these processes and address any areas of concern.

Isaiah Bozimo

Isaiah Bozimo


Afolasade Banjo

Afolasade Banjo


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