"An emergency arbitrator is an arbitrator appointed on an urgent basis specifically to deal with an application for interim relief which cannot wait for the constitution of the tribunal that is to deal with the substantive dispute between the parties".
What is the purpose of an Emergency Arbitrator?
A party wishes to prevent the other party from disposing of disputed assets or evidence. In order to do that, the party needs to obtain urgent interim relief at the outset of a dispute before the arbitral tribunal is constituted.
On average, from the filing of a request for arbitration with an arbitral organisation it takes approximately three or four months to constitute a tribunal. If the choice of arbitrator is challenged, that process may take even longer.
Traditionally, arbitration did not provide an opportunity to obtain interim relief until an arbitral tribunal was constituted. The only option was to seek such relief at court. However, in some cases, parties may be unwilling to approach a court – particularly if the court is in the home jurisdiction of the other party. To address this issue, many arbitral organisations have recently adopted special provisions that provide a mechanism for obtaining urgently-needed interim relief at the very outset of proceedings.