How to Become a Gafta Qualified Arbitrator

To become a Gafta Qualified Arbitrator, you must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Be a member, or be employed by a member of Gafta
  • Have passed the four Gafta Professional Development (GPD) courses OR passed the six Distance Learning Programme (DLP) modules within the last 5 years
  • Have 10+ years' relevant experience in the trade
  • In-house lawyers working for Gafta members are eligible, but those working primarily in private practice are not
  • Pass the Arbitrator Diploma examination

The training

You will need to complete and pass all 4 Gafta Professional Development (GPD) courses OR all 6 Distance Learning Programme (DLP) modules. There is no transferability between these training programmes, i.e. you cannot complete some GPD courses and some DLP modules to make up the training requirement for the Arbitrator Diploma exam.

GPD DLP logo

All GPD courses or DLP modules must be completed and passed within 5 years of taking the Arbitrator Diploma.

The exam

For more details on the Arbitrator Diploma exam, please click here.

Gafta Qualified Arbitrators

Gafta Appeal Board Arbitrators

Arbitrators may apply to become appeal board arbitrators when they have served on five first tier tribunals, including at least one as Chair. At least one of these arbitration tribunals must have taken place within the preceding 12 months. In addition, applicants must have no documented adverse feedback on their performance as an arbitrator, to produce their compliant CPD record for the previous 12 months, and to pass a written assessment which will assess their arbitration award-writing skills.

Appeal board arbitrators who have not sat on any first tier or appeal hearings for the previous 3 years will be removed from the list of appeal board arbitrators (also currently known as the Committee of Appeal).

To become an Appeal Board Arbitrator, an additional examination is required.

Exemptions from the training requirements

Individuals who have significant legal and/or arbitral experience may apply for exemption from the training requirement to become a Gafta Qualified Arbitrator. All applicants for exemption must be current members of Gafta, and must submit their application to arbitration@gafta.com supported by: a CV, request for exemption form and any relevant supporting papers.

All applications will be shared with and considered by the Arbitration Committee. The Arbitration Committee will decide on the request for exemption from the training requirements. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the Arbitration Committee will not grant exemption from the exam. No exemption will be made for those with less than ten years' experience in the trade. Once an individual has been granted an exemption, the exemption will only be valid for 12 months and thereafter the individual will need to reapply.

Please note: Exemptions from training are only granted in exceptional circumstances. Most applications for exemption are unsuccessful, or a partial exemption only is granted.

A fee of £250.00 (excl. VAT) applies to all training exemption applications.

Applications for exemption will only apply to GPD courses and DLP modules. There is no possibility to apply for exemption from the Gafta Arbitrator Diploma Exam.

Exemptions to Gafta Qualified Arbitrator and Appeal Board Arbitrator Default Retirement Age

The Gafta arbitrator retirement age is 702. Any arbitrator my apply to the Arbitration Committee for an extension to the age of 75. This will be granted on an annual basis, providing that the arbitrator satisfied the Committee that they have sat on at least one tribunal in the previous 12 months. have no documented adverse feedback on their performance as an arbitrator, and can produce their compliant CPD record for the previous 12 months.

1Canditates must be employees of Gafta members or be members in their own right. In-house lawyers working for Gafta members are eligible, but not those working primarily in private practice.
2Gafta arbitrators are not considered 'workers' under the UK Equality Act 2010.