Supreme Court to decide on fixing arbitrator’s fee under Arbitration and Conciliation Act [11.3.2022]

Tuesday, 8th March, 2022

The Supreme Court on Tuesday set about to resolve the conundrum around the fixation of arbitrator’s fee in India, as attorney general KK Venugopal implored the court to rationalise the fee structure in view of the predicament being faced by the public sector undertakings (PSUs) over the exorbitant demands made by the arbitrators.

Retired Supreme Court and high court judges are usually appointed as arbitrators.

Directing listing of all the cases pertaining to the issue of ceiling on arbitrator’s fee, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana agreed to examine the mandatory nature of the model schedule of fee for the arbitrators, prescribed under the Fourth Schedule of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

The bench, which also comprised justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli, noted that the contentions around the applicability of the Fourth Schedule and arbitration proceedings become disproportionately expensive for the parties need to be finally settled in the wake of growing complaints against the arbitrator’s fee.

The order followed arguments by Venugopal, who raised concerns about the “exorbitant and arbitrary” fee charged by the arbitrators and urged the bench to lay down uniform yardsticks across the board.

13 Mar 2022