In this episode 4, we are examining the mindset of the Sole Arbitrator faced with a conflict of interest. Are you the right person to continue to hold this reference? Have you, previously, come to know too much about the facts of the case from your private conversation many months back with Someone? Are you conflicted? Is your position compromised? What factors prey upon your mind?
You do want to do the case. You feel pleased with yourself that the appointing authority has come to you, + not other arbitrators, to take on the reference. So personal pride is a factor for you. But there is a second influence at work; your eldest daughter has just become engaged and a wedding event is being discussed including the cost of the wedding dress, the evening entertainment and the hall where the celebration is to take place. The bridegroom’s family are struggling with the funding of their own car parts business and wedding costs look as if they are coming your way.
Private conversations do take place when advice is sought from well-placed arbitrators, +, it is also the case, that family finances ebb and flow. Temptation can come into play. Heads can be turned and wrong decisions can be made. So how to resolve the dilemma – can you continue?
Back to basics – S33 of the 1996 Act is clear. You have to be fair + impartial. There is no other way. In proceeding with this appointment as Sole Arbitrator will you be acting fairly? This is a high standard. It is the key test. You are accountable. You have to be above suspicion. Your conscience has to be clear. You have to look the appointing authority in the eye + know that you are above board, acting fairly, and free of conflict.
#207. 1 MARCH 2022