International Yacht Arbitration Council Initial Panel of Certified Arbitrators

Disputes submitted to the Arbitration Council will be decided by the council’s Certified Arbitrators.  The initial panel of Certified Arbitrators selected by the IYBA is composed of current members of the IYBA who are either:

  • former Presidents of the IYBA, or
  • attorneys focused on the yacht/maritime industry with at least 35 years of experience.

The depth of experience of the initial panel confirms to the yachting world the IYBA’s seriousness about its commitment to improving and bringing efficiency and better results to dispute resolution in the yacht industry.   Decisions submitted to the Arbitration Council — which will be the default mandate in revised IYBA PSA and Listing Agreements — will be made by very experienced professionals.

It is intended that in due course membership on the panel will evolve.  New panel members would be admitted by a 2/3 vote of the panel members, ratified by the board of directors of the IYBA.  Becoming a member of the arbitration panel will not be a matter of simply applying and taking a course.  The panel will propose criteria for the admission of new members for approval to the IYBA board of directors.

All Arbitration Council arbitrators, including the original panel members, will have to participate in a four (4) hour training session provided by Michael Karcher, long-time Chairman of the Miami Marine Arbitration Council.*  The training session will cover major arbitration subjects, including the conduct of an arbitration, the support to be provided by the Arbitration Council itself, and the applicability of the major arbitration acts – the Federal Arbitration Act, the Florida Arbitration Code, and the Florida International Commercial Arbitration Code

The original panel will be Americas-based given the history of the IYBA.  The list will be expanded to include European-based arbitrators subject to criteria to be established.  The list may expand to other areas of the world as the need arises.

Not qualifying initially for membership on the panel should not be perceived as an exclusion of any type.  The creation of the Arbitration Council will give brokers a proper forum to resolve yacht-related disputes and give attorney members of the IYBA an additional venue in which to present their cases.

The standards for membership on the panel compared to other arbitration bodies will be comparable as noted below:

Florida Supreme Court Approved Arbitrator (“FSCAA”):  Though an FSCAA must be a member of the Florida Bar, there is no minimum time requirement, except for a Chairman of a particular arbitration panel, who must have been admitted to the Bar a minimum of just five (5) years.  In terms of training, an FCSCAA must have four (4) hours of arbitration training (unless waived by the parties – the Arbitration Council contemplates no such waivers).

Miami Marine Arbitration Council (“MMAC”):  Admission is by approval of its board, without specific requirements considered on a case-by-case evaluation of an applicant’s experience, reputation and background.

Society of Maritime Arbitration (“SMA”):  The SMA does not publish its eligibility requirements posted on their website.  Nevertheless, SMA arbitrators are required to maintain a certain level of proficiency in carrying out their duties as an arbitrator.

London Maritime Arbitrators Association (“LMAA”):  The LMAA requires fifteen (15) years of experience in the shipping industry to become an arbitrator and demonstrate a substantial and recent degree of involvement on a regular basis working with other LMAA members as a member of London maritime arbitration tribunals.  Each applicant must be interviewed by a committee and then recommended for membership.

American Arbitration Association (“AAA”):  Admission as an arbitrator for the AAA is a more complicated process, which, importantly, does not require knowledge of the yachting industry and does require a minimum of fifteen (15) years of “senior-level” legal, business or professional experience.

The fees set by each arbitrator for their services will be provided to the Arbitration Council upon request by the arbitrator and to the parties requesting arbitration.

* Michael Karcher is exempt from participating in the training session by virtue of his training as are any members of the initial panel listed above who are already qualified as arbitrators by any of the above-listed arbitration associations.