Bias of an arbitrator due to a "Facebook friendship"


Art 6 ECHR provides for the general right to assert the bias of a judge if his independence and impartiality are not undoubtedly certain. An exclusion is required if the objective appearance of impartiality is not clearly given, whereby subjective impressions are irrelevant. Friendship or antagonism can create the appearance of bias if they are of a certain intensity. On the other hand, joint studies, military service or regular professional contacts are generally insufficient. However, the term “friend”, which is used to refer to people who are connected on Facebook, is different from that in the traditional sense, since there is not necessarily a mutual sense of appropriation and sympathy or intimate knowledge that signals a certain proximity and goes beyond the mere fact of knowing someone. In the absence of additional factors, “friendship” on Facebook alone is not enough to cast doubt on the appearance of impartiality. However, it can be an indication of a broader relationship. [BGer 14.05.2018, 5A_701/2017].