How to Become a Gafta Qualified Arbitrator

There are two main routes to becoming a Gafta Qualified Arbitrator. These are to attend all the Gafta Professional Development (GPD) courses: Trade Foundation, Commodity Contracts, Commodity Shipping, Commodity Dispute Resolution; or to pass the Distance Learning Programme (DLP). In addition to this, candidates need to have at least ten years' experience in the trade and to sit the Gafta Arbitrator Diploma Examination.

Eligible applicants1 who pass the Gafta Arbitrator Diploma Examination can apply to become a Gafta Qualified Arbitrator. All applications are considered and decided upon by Gafta's Arbitration Committee.

Exemptions from the training requirements

Individuals who have significant legal and/or arbitral experience may apply for exemption from the training requirement. All applications for exemption must be current members of Gafta, and must submit their application to 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.

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.

Gafta Qualified Arbitrators

Arbitrators will be appointed in line with Gafta's 'Guidelines for Appointment of Arbitrators'. Gafta arbitrators are required to comply with the 'General Rules and Regulations Applicable to All Members' and the 'Rules and Code of Conduct for Qualified Arbitrators and Qualified Mediators'. Gafta arbitrators must comply with annual CPD requirements as set out in 'Gafta Qualified Arbitrators Annual CPD Policy' and sign the annual letter of agreement. Arbitrators must comply with the 'Service Level Guidelines', and all other rules and regulations that the Arbitration Committee shall decide upon.

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).

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.