AN ARBITRATOR STUMBLES – EPISODE 2

Written by Graham Perry

Graham Perry M.A. Cantab FCIArb Experienced Arbitration Lawyer | China & Chinese Business Affairs | Public Speaker/Lecturer

22 September 2021

ARBITRATION #185

Please bear in mind that the narrative is fictitious. It bears no relation to any arbitrator. However, the problem of contact between an arbitrator + a party does exist. Read on.

The Hearing is underway. A preliminary point to submit a late document is resolved by an eventual agreement between the parties.

On Day 3 you receive an overnight email from the Turkish lady member of the Board requesting a private word – not easy to arrange in the busy agenda of a big Hearing. However, a phone call occurs – private and away from ears/eyes.

And it is a problem – the Icelandic Board Member has been seen by the Turkish Board Member having pre-dinner drinks with an Observer attending the Hearing who is a prominent employee of the Respondent Buyers.

You have no further details – how long for example. It has happened. A member of the Board of Appeal had had an encounter with an Observer attached to Sellers and in a public place – the bar of the Hotel where two of the Buyers’ witnesses are also staying.

A thousand thoughts. Was the encounter seen by anyone else connected with the Hearing? Does that matter in any event? The encounter has taken place and it is the encounter + your knowledge of it that is the key point. A temptation to shrug off the matter is quickly dismissed. An issue has arisen – it is your problem.

The encounter may have been quite innocent. Maybe the Board Member + the Observer are friends since meeting on a Training Course a few years back. Maybe they are negotiating an ongoing trade. Maybe they are having a drink after a chance to work out in the gym.

The encounter was observed, the Turkish member of the Board believes, by lawyers for the appellant having a drink at the end of the second-day hearing.

23 SEPTEMBER 2021 – EPISODE 3

THE CHAIRWOMAN OF THE BOARD + THE NEXT STEP

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