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TAG Wealth Management v West

[2008] All ER (D) 386 (Jun)

Court: High Court
Date of Judgment: 27.06.08

The claimant was a financial and investment advisor. The defendant was engaged by the claimant as an associate from November 1996 and September 1999. During 2000, a dispute arose between the parties. The claimant contended that the defendant ought to reimburse commissions he had received in respect of insurance policies which he had written but which had subsequently lapsed. Those were known as the 'clawback' claims. The defendant argued that he was in fact entitled to be paid further commissions in respect of policies he had written that had subsequently been renewed (the 'renewal' claims). In 2002 the disputes were referred to arbitration. In December 2007, the defendant applied to strike out the claims on the ground of delay under s.41(3) of the Arbitration Act 1996. The arbitrator allowed the application, and gave the defendant permission to withdraw his counterclaim. The arbitrator gave full reasons, holding that the delay had been almost entirely the fault of the claimant, and that it had been both inordinate and inexcusable. The claimant applied to challenge that decision under s 68 (serious irregularity) and s 69 (error of law) of the Arbitration Act 1996. The Commercial Court dismissed both applications.

The Commercial Court applied well-established principles that placed a high hurdle in the way of a party to an arbitration seeking to set aside an award by reference to section 68. There had been nothing seriously irregular in the way the arbitrator had dealt with the application.

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