In the case of Jivraj v Hashwani , the U.K. Court of Appeal held that an arbitration agreement which provided that only persons of a certain religious belief could act as arbitrator was void because arbitrators fall within the scope of English anti-discrimination employment legislation in relation to religion and belief (the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003).
The Court of Appeal’s finding that arbitrators were employees had raised a number of questions; not least as such characterisation is inconsistent with many of the functions and duties of arbitrators under the U.K. Arbitration Act 1996.
Both parties appealed the Court of Appeal`s decision to the Supreme Court. The broader potential implications of the case have generated considerable discussion within the international legal community. One of the key issues for consideration by the U.K. Supreme was whether the nature of the agreement between the parties and arbitrators, was such, that arbitrators may be considered ’employees’ of the parties, (and thereby subject to the law prohibiting discrimination by employers).
In today’s decision  (27 July 2011), the Supreme Court confirmed that arbitrators are not employees within the meaning of domestic anti-discrimination legislation.
The Supreme Court after considering both European and English case law identified a clear distinction between those who are in substance employed, and those who are “independent providers of services who are not in a relationship of subordination with the person who receives the services”. The court held that an arbitrator is in the category of an independent provider of services who is not in a relationship of subordination with the parties who receive his services.
  2 Lloyd’s Rep 534,  IRLR 797,  EWCA Civ 712
  UKSC 40
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Theodorou Law Firm is a Cyprus law firm with Cyprus lawyers and other legal experts on legal matters involving Cyprus law, EU law and international law. The above should be used as a source of general information only. It is not intended to give a definitive statement of the law.