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