Arbitral Tribunals Made Simple: A Layman’s Guide to their Power and Functions



When disputes arise between parties in a business or legal context, there are various ways to resolve them. One effective method is arbitration, where an impartial and independent body, known as an arbitral tribunal, is appointed to settle the dispute outside of traditional court proceedings.

In this article, we will explore the power and functions of an arbitral tribunal in simple terms, making it accessible to the layman.


  1. What is an Arbitral Tribunal?

An arbitral tribunal is like a private judge or a mini court that is specifically formed to resolve a particular dispute. It is composed of one or more arbitrators who act as decision-makers. These arbitrators are usually experts in the subject matter of the dispute and are neutral, meaning they do not have any bias towards either party involved in the case.


  1. Power to Decide the Dispute

The primary function of an arbitral tribunal is to hear both sides of the dispute and make a decision called an “arbitration award.” This award is binding on the parties involved and serves as a final resolution to the conflict. Unlike a court judgment, which is issued by a judge and may be appealed, an arbitration award is usually not subject to appeal, making the process faster and more efficient.


  1. Independence and Impartiality

One of the crucial aspects of an arbitral tribunal is its independence and impartiality. The arbitrators are not connected to any of the parties in the dispute, ensuring a fair and unbiased decision-making process. This independence inspires confidence in the parties involved, as they know the tribunal’s focus is solely on achieving a just resolution.


  1. Jurisdictional Power

The arbitral tribunal’s jurisdictional power refers to its authority to hear and decide a particular dispute. This power is derived from an agreement between the parties, usually found in a contract or a separate arbitration agreement. By consenting to arbitration, the parties agree to submit their dispute to the arbitral tribunal and be bound by its decision.


  1. Determining the Applicable Law

The arbitral tribunal has the authority to determine the law that will govern the dispute. In international disputes, the tribunal may apply the laws of different countries. However, in domestic disputes, the tribunal will typically apply the laws of the country where the arbitration takes place. This ensures that the dispute is resolved within the framework of the appropriate legal system.


  1. Case Management

An arbitral tribunal is responsible for managing the arbitration process. This includes setting the timetable for the proceedings, organizing hearings, and dealing with procedural matters. The tribunal has the flexibility to tailor the process to suit the unique needs of each case, making it a more efficient and adaptable alternative to court proceedings.


  1. Gathering Evidence

Similar to a court, an arbitral tribunal has the power to request and review evidence relevant to the dispute. The parties are given the opportunity to present their case and support it with documents, witness testimonies, or expert opinions. The arbitrators then consider this evidence when reaching their decision.


  1. Remedies and Awards

Once the arbitral tribunal has considered all the evidence and arguments presented by both parties, it will render an arbitration award. This award outlines the tribunal’s decision on the dispute and may include specific remedies or compensation to be provided by one party to the other. The award is legally binding, and the parties are obligated to abide by its terms.



In conclusion, an arbitral tribunal is a powerful and effective mechanism for resolving disputes outside of traditional court proceedings. Composed of impartial arbitrators, it has the authority to hear a dispute, apply relevant laws, and issue a binding arbitration award. The flexibility, efficiency, and enforceability of arbitration awards make the arbitral tribunal a popular choice for parties seeking a fair resolution to their conflicts.

By understanding its powers and functions, individuals and businesses can make informed decisions when choosing arbitration as their preferred method of dispute resolution.

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