The number of arbitrators is uneven: one or three. The parties may agree on a number themselves, in the absence of which the Netherlands Arbitration Institute will determine the number. In doing so, the NAI looks at the financial interest of the case, as well as the nature and complexity of the dispute and the preference of each individual party.
The parties are first given the opportunity to appoint arbitrators themselves. If one arbitrator must be appointed, the parties appoint that arbitrator themselves. If three arbitrators must be appointed, each of the parties appoints one arbitrator. The arbitrators appointed by the parties jointly appoint the third arbitrator, who is chair of the arbitral tribunal. If the parties make no appointment, the arbitrators are appointed on the basis of the list procedure. Under the list procedure, the NAI selects from its database the arbitrators who are suitable for a specific procedure and adds these names to a list to be sent to the parties. This list is sent to the party or parties that failed to appoint an arbitrator in good time. The parties may object against the appointment of the proposed arbitrators and number the remaining names in order of their preference. Based on the returned lists, the NAI then appoints the arbitrator or arbitrators. If no appointment is possible based on a comparison of the returned lists, the NAI will appoint directly. All arbitrators, including the arbitrators appointed by the parties themselves, must be fully independent and impartial. Prior tot he confirmation of appointment, each arbitrator must sign a statement confirming his independence and impartiality and send this statement tot he administrator.
The NAI selects arbitrators for a certain case based on the request for arbitration and the short answer. It will take account of the wishes of all parties insofar as possible. The NAI has a large database containing the names of more than 500 people who have specific expertise and extensive experience in many fields.
The parties may also agree another manner of appointment, e.g. immediate appointment of arbitrators via the list procedure.