Gafta has recently amended its arbitration rules (Gafta 125 and 126), which are applicable to contracts entered into on or after 1 March 2022.
Gafta is now authorised to substitute an arbitrator, without his consent, in situations where “in Gafta’s reasonable opinion, it would be appropriate for him [for an arbitrator] to do so”, both in the first-tier arbitration and in any appeal. The relevant amendments were made to clauses 3.9 (a) and 11.2. of Gafta 125 Rules, and clause 3.7 (a) of Gafta 126 Rules. Considering the wording, we understand that Gafta will decide whether or not to exercise such an option depending on the circumstances of the particular case. It also follows that Gafta may substitute an arbitrator at any stage of the arbitral proceedings.
Secondly, Gafta has slightly amended the “Notices” clause recognizing that all notices shall be served on the parties or arbitrators through the Secretary of Gafta at its offices pursuant to these Rules "in legible form by E-mail, or by other mutually recognized electronic method of rapid communication." (clause 21.1 and 21.2. of Gafta 125 Rules, clause 8.1. of Gafta 126 Rules). This change has been made to bring the Arbitration rules in line with contract proformas that were amended in the same way in January 2022 and because e-mail is now the most common way of serving notices. The previous editions of the Rules stipulated that the methods of rapid communication included “either telex, or letter if delivered by hand on the date of writing, or telefax, or E-mail, or other electronic means.” You can read about the January amendments of Gafta contracts and arbitration rules here.