The Federation Press

The Arbitrator’s Companion


The book is written for arbitrators who are not lawyers and for lawyers who are not arbitrators. It sets out in short and simple terms the law of arbitration. It then describes in practical terms the course of an arbitration to assist arbitrators in conducting an arbitration and dealing with lawyers. The practical guide concludes with a sample arbitration from go to whoa so that both lawyers and arbitrators can see the advice in action. There are then two sections specifically for arbitrators.

The first provides descriptions of the law that arbitrators may find useful. There are thirteen general entries, such as the Australian Legal System, Contract, Discovery, Evidence, Interpretation of Acts and Contracts, Pleadings and so on. There is then a glossary of legal terms for arbitrators.

The final part contains the text of the uniform Commercial Arbitration Act 1984 and the Commonwealth International Arbitration Act 1974. The book is designed to be what its name suggests, namely, a companion for arbitrators. It is written with the express bias that the parties to an arbitration want arbitration, and not the exercises in litigation lawyers customarily pursue. Gibson has vast experience in litigation and arbitration, and in hearing and determining commercial disputes.


As a graded arbitrator I found it extraordinarily useful in reviewing procedures and laws applied in commercial arbitrations ...I recommend The Arbitrator’s Companion, especially to those who may become involved in a commercial arbitration resulting from a lease dispute or some other commercial agreement which contains an arbitration cause. Gibson’s work contains precedents and the forms a commercial arbitrator can use.
It is a welcome addition to my library and will be used by me, with our Commercial Arbitration Act, as a reference before conducting each commercial arbitration. - Greg Vickery, Managing Partner, Deacons, Proctor (Qld Law Society), December 2001

Skills in arbitration, or at least a good understanding of it, are essential for any industrial arbitration practitioner. Geoffrey Gibson’s book ... focusses on arbitration of commercial disputes. Nevertheless, I found it a thought-provoking work. ...
Gibson is an experienced practitioner. The experience shows ... Industrial relations practitioners would do well to to read his explanation of the “relaxed” rules on evidence and the discovery process, for instance.
It was fascinating to compare the practice of commercial with industrial arbitration. Many of the processes are identical, but in the commercial field the onus is far more on the parties to take responsibility for the process. This includes, for instance, choosing an arbitrator and developing a specific arbitration agreement. The discussion on this point is directly relevant to IR today. ...
The book’s discussion of the legal concepts and practical processes is very good. Although a new industrial advocate would not find it specific enough, all experienced practitioners could benefit from the broadening of outlook that comes from understanding how a familiar concept works in another field. There is room for improvement in the practice of resolving industrial disputes and there are some useful ideas around. Take a look. - Industrial Relations Society of SA Newsletter, November 2001

There is no doubt that Gibson’s helpful book will help foster a better understanding of arbitration and its potential advantages. ... This is a concise and practical book. It is full of tips designed to keep the arbitral process nimble and free from the heaviness and delay that can beset formal litigation. The suggested informal approaches to procedure and evidence will clear a quick path to the heart of a dispute. Importantly, however, the author pays due regard to the need to balance such efficiencies against the protections that formalities provide. ... Barristers and others finding themselves in unfamiliar arbitral territory would do very well to have this ‘companion’ at hand. - Victorian Bar News, No 137, Winter 2006

Table of Contents

The Law Relating to Arbitration

The case for commercial arbitration
Definition: the arbitration agreement
History and current attitudes
Sources of law
International arbitration
Applicable law
Jurisdiction (scope of dispute)
Powers and procedures
Preliminary conference
Further pre-trial orders
Expert evidence
Setting aside award
Stay of court proceedings

The Practice of Arbitration

The submission to arbitration
The notice of dispute
The appointment
The acceptance of nomination as arbitrator
Directions before hearing
The hearing
The award
A case study

Elements of Law for Arbitrators

Australian legal system
Interpretation (Acts and contracts)
Misleading and deceptive conduct
Natural justice (or procedural fairness)

Glossary of Legal Terms for Arbitrators

Sources of Law for Arbitrators

Commercial Arbitration Act 1984 (New South Wales)
International Arbitration Act 1974 (Commonwealth)
Extracts of New York Convention in International Arbitration Act
Extracts of UNICTRAL Model Law (Schedule 2 to International Arbitration Act)

Of interest...