GAFTA Trade Diploma

Trade Diploma Exam

Why take the Trade Diploma exam?

The Gafta Trade Diploma is aimed at experienced professionals who:

- Want to work towards becoming a Gafta Qualified Arbitrator.
- Are looking to progress their career within the grain trade

Please see the ‘next steps’ section of this page to see how to progress from the Trade Diploma to Arbitrator status. Please note: Taking the Trade Diploma exam does not automatically qualify you to be Gafta Arbitrator.

The criteria

In order to take the Gafta Trade Diploma exam candidates must meet the following criteria:

- Have attended and passed the 4 Gafta Professional Development (GDP) courses OR
- Have attended and passed the 6 Gafta Distance Learning Programme (DLP) modules OR
- Have applied for and have been granted exemption from GDP and DLP by the Gafta Arbitration Committee

Either route of training must be completed in full in a maximum of 5 years in order for students to be eligible to take the Gafta Trade Diploma Examination

Successful candidates will also have:

- Excellent written English
- High-level legal essay-writing skills
- Extensive knowledge of commodity contract case law
- Significant experience of working within the grain trade
- Thorough knowledge of the principles and process of Gafta Arbitration, including Gafta Arbitration Rules 125 and the 1996 Arbitration Act

Arranging the location

The exam can be taken at Gafta’s London office, or by arrangement, at a Gafta member organisation office.

To arrange your exam, please email and advise us of your preferred month and city in which to take the exam.

Please note: Last-minute requests cannot always be accommodated, particularly if your preferred location is outside of the UK. Candidates who opt to take the exam anywhere other than Gafta London may be charged an administrative fee towards the cost of room hire and/or invigilation. Additional charges will be agreed with candidates in advance. Exams cannot be arranged until the relevant training has been passed.

The fees

GBP250.00 exclusive of VAT

Preparation and briefing papers

It is recommended that candidates read an introductory book into the subject of arbitration before attempting the exam.

The following materials will be provided electronically before the exam for candidates to review:

Gafta contract 119 (FOB)
Gafta contract 101 (CIF Rye Terms)
Gafta contract 100
Gafta Arbitration Rules 125
- Sample exam paper (provided on request)
- Guide to answering questions (provided on request)

The following materials will be provided on the day of the exam for reference:

- Part B: Gafta contract 119 (FOB)
- Gafta contract 101 (CIF Rye Terms)
- Gafta contract 100

The exam

Language: The Trade Diploma exam is only available in English. Candidates are required to demonstrate a high level of competence in their understanding and quality of written English.

Time allowed: Candidates will have 3 hours 15 minutes to complete the exam. 15 minutes is recommended as reading time. Candidates should aim to spend about an hour on part A and 1 hour each on parts B and C.

Structure & answer guide: The Trade Diploma exam is open book and is split into three parts

Part A carries 20% of the overall marks
Provide a short answer to the TEN general trade knowledge questions in this section. You should aim to spend about 4-5 mins on each answer.

Part B carries 40% of the overall marks
The purpose of the question is for you to demonstrate your ability to analyse the law and provide us with evidence that in a future arbitration scenario you could use your knowledge to make valid judgments in a legal dispute.

Draft a reasoned explanation of what issues are raised by the facts of the contractual dispute set out in this section. There is no simple right/wrong answer; we are seeking to identify your reasoning abilities.

In answering the question we are looking for evidence that you understand the legal issues that relate to the facts outlined, i.e. what impact the various actions outlined by the buyer and seller have on the legal principles of contracting. For example, if people said things and did things that affected their legal position; you should tell us about those things and how they affect the legal position.

Try to avoid saying how you would have done things differently, or advise how the parties could have avoided the problem, unless you have a specific legal context in mind and, try to avoid taking sides with the buyer or seller. You will not gain any marks for providing the seller/buyer with advice.

Part C carries 40% of the overall marks

Review the given Arbitration award and comment on it under the following headings:

- Style – is the award clear and does it allow the parties to understand the findings
- Facts – are the facts relevant/have all relevant facts and evidence been included
- Findings – have all relevant issues been answered
- The law – is the award correct on its interpretation of the relevant legal issues
- Award – is the Award fully reasoned, in respect of who has been successful/the award of damages/fees and expenses
- Suggested changes – are there any changes you would suggest to this Tribunal that they should make.

Pass Mark

The pass mark overall is 65%. All three sections must be passed in order to achieve a pass overall.

Resitting the Exam

Gafta’s Arbitration Committee has stipulated that a candidate can only take the exam twice in a two year period. Therefore, if you retook the exam 6 months after your initial attempt and were again unsuccessful, it would be a further 2 years before you could sit the exam again.

Next steps to becoming a Gafta Arbitrator

For candidates wishing to become a Gafta qualified Arbitrator, they must meet the following criteria:

- Have completed and passed the Gafta Trade Diploma
- Have 10+ years’ experience in the grain trade
- Be a Gafta member or be employed by a Gafta member
- Not work for a professional law firm (in-house trade lawyers will be considered)

Once they have, they must contact and fill out an application form. The application will then be considered by the Gafta Arbitration Committee.

For further information on becoming a Gafta qualified Arbitrator, please see our website

Checklist for Diploma candidates

Item Tick

Attended and passed the 4 GAFTA Professional Development (GPD) courses:

- Trade Foundation Course
- Commodity Shipping
- Commodity Contracts
- Commodity Dispute Resolution


Attended and passed the 6 GAFTA Distance Learning Programme (DLP) modules


Have applied for and have been granted exemption from GDP and DLP by the Gafta Arbitration Committee


Contact to advise your preferred month and city


Confirm date and location with Gafta


Download and read all briefing papers





August 2018

mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
30 31 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15

Gafta Buyers Training Seminar

15/08/2018 View

A one day seminar sponsored by HFW covering topics lawyers feel are relevant to buyers.

16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9