Since his post was created in July last year, Newby has been subject to 12 challenges by pub licensees, of which, four were upheld.
The Daily Telegraph reported the decision was revealed following a freedom of information request submitted by the Pubs Advisory Service. However, the four tenants involved would need to take their dispute to the High Court in order to overturn the adjudicator’s ruling.
The PCA is currently dealing with 89 live pubs code legislation cases, which allows tenants to request a quote from their pub-owning company for a market-rent-only (MRO) option agreement when their tenancy is due for renewal.
A spokesperson from alternative dispute resolution service CIArb – a not-for-profit charity – told the newspaper that a challenge was permitted against the group's members, of which Paul Newby is one, if “circumstances exist that give rise to justifiable doubts as to the arbitrator’s impartiality or independence”.
The spokesperson added that a successful challenge didn’t necessarily mean that the wrong decision had been made by the arbitrator, but that when a challenge was upheld, an arbitrator’s appointment in that individual dispute is “immediately terminated”.
Newby had been in sole charge of dealing with arbitrations until the PCA hired former barrister Fiona Dickie as his deputy in October.
Did not accept jurisdiction
Given that its responsibilities had been established by an act of parliament, a PCA spokesperson said it did “not accept that the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators has any jurisdiction to appoint or remove an individual from the role of arbitrator in a pubs code arbitration”.
The spokesperson, whose comments were also reported in The Daily Telegraph, added that Newby remained a member of the CIArb and that he “is determined to maintain the independence of the PCA in carrying out his role as parliament intended and continues to act as arbitrator in those cases that have been challenged and where the challenge has been upheld by the CIArb.”
The Morning Advertiser has contacted the CIArb and the PCA but has not yet had a response.