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Appointment of Arbitrators and Mediators

02 July 2014

It is not always possible for parties to a dispute to agree on an arbitrator, mediator or other expert. In such cases, some commercial agreements allow the President of the New Zealand Law Society to appoint an arbitrator or mediator to deal with the dispute.

Disputes under existing agreements

Many standard commercial agreements contain dispute resolution clauses providing that where a dispute arises and the parties cannot agree on an arbitrator or mediator, the President of the local District Law Society will appoint an arbitrator or mediator.

District Law Societies were dissolved at 1 February 2009. The Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 provides that any reference to the President of a District Law Society is now to be read as referring to the President of the New Zealand Law Society (section 385).

Any agreement which requires the President of a District Law Society to appoint an arbitrator or mediator must therefore now be interpreted as requiring the President of the New Zealand Law Society to make the appointment.

Dispute in new agreements

If you are putting a dispute resolution clause into an agreement, you should ensure it refers to the President of the New Zealand Law Society (rather than a District Law Society).

Requesting an appointment

Requests for the appointment of an arbitrator, mediator or other expert (such as a valuer) should be made to:

The President
New Zealand Law Society
PO Box 5041
Lambton Quay
Wellington 6145

Email: inquiries@lawsociety.org.nz
Phone: (4) 472 7837.

Cost

There is a charge of $380 plus GST to cover the costs of providing this service. The charge is payable in advance by the party applying for the appointment.

If you wish to enclose payment with your letter requesting the appointment, you should include a cheque for the total amount of $437 and payable to the New Zealand Law Society.

If the parties can agree on an arbitrator, mediator, or other expert, the Law Society President need not be involved in an appointment.

Required information

The Law Society follows a process which provides for both parties to be given the opportunity to suggest possible arbitrators, mediators or experts. To assist the President in making an appropriate appointment, please provide the following information:

  • names of the parties;
  • contact details for their lawyers;
  • a brief summary of the dispute;
  • suggestions of possible arbitrators, mediators or experts;
  • whether the parties have previously discussed and disagreed on possible arbitrators, mediators or experts;
  • any other relevant issue, to ensure that the Law Society President appoints an arbitrator, mediator or expert with suitable experience and the right level of seniority;

Also include a copy of the agreement, or, at a minimum, a copy of the dispute resolution clause which gives the President the power to appoint, plus evidence of execution of the agreement.

Conditions of appointment

While the President will endeavour to appoint a suitable person, the appointment will be made on the basis that neither the President nor the New Zealand Law Society (including its officers and staff) has any legal responsibility or liability in relation to the appointment, or for the charges of the appointee in relation to the appointment, or any other matter which arises from the appointment.

Last updated on the 28th October 2016