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Who Judges the Judges?: Ensuring arbitrator impartiality, dealing with bias, and seeking judicial review

Tuesday, August 13, 2019, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

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Keith Burkhardt

Employer Counsel
Sherrard Kuzz
Anne Gregory

Legal Counsel
Manitoba Nurses Union


John McConchie


John McLuckie

Union Counsel
Jewitt McLuckie
Marcia McNeil

Employer Counsel
Pulver Crawford Munroe


Impartiality is the foundation of the arbitration process. But while arbitrators are expected to maintain objectivity in assessing evidence and rendering decisions, they nevertheless have the potential to be affected by conscious or unconscious bias. In this session, experienced arbitrators and counsel will discuss arbitrator impartiality, provide guidance on the steps that parties may take if they encounter arbitrator bias, and outline how parties may seek judicial review of an arbitrator's decision.

  • Ensuring arbitrator impartiality: What level of impartiality is expected of arbitrators? What is the test for determining arbitrator bias? To what extent do arbitrators owe a duty of fairness to the parties appearing before them? What steps should arbitrators take to ensure impartiality and avoid even the appearance of bias? What are examples of arbitrator conduct that courts have deemed to constitute bias? What types of inquiries can parties and their counsel make to verify the impartiality of an arbitrator?
  • Dealing with bias: What should a party do if it develops concerns about the impartiality of an arbitrator? What unique considerations may arise in the context of mediation-arbitration, in which the same individual acts as both mediator and arbitrator?
  • Seeking judicial review: On what grounds may an arbitrator's decision be challenged? When will a court order the removal of an arbitrator? What is the procedure for seeking judicial review of an arbitrator's decision on the basis of a reasonable apprehension of bias? What is the standard of review that a court will apply on reviewing an arbitrator's decision?
  • Considerations for panels: Are there different expectations of employer or union nominees to a board of arbitration? When will a court order that a matter be remitted to a new panel rather than to the original panel for reconsideration?

Additional Information

Valuable, up-to-date materials and case summaries will be available for downloading from our website. Each audio conference is accompanied by a PDF of concise summaries of the cases discussed.

Audio conference MP3 files are available for $260. Those who have purchased the live audio conference may purchase the corresponding downloadable audio MP3 file for the discounted price of $160.

The recorded MP3 file and materials are available for download one business day after the live audio conference. After purchasing, you will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access and download the audio conference MP3 file and materials by visiting My Account and selecting Order History. For audio file purchases for upcoming audio conferences, once the MP3 file is available through our site, registrants will receive an update e-mail informing them that the links are now ready.

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