Written by Graham Perry

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

5 July 2022


The Chair has choices; she can refer the matter to the Tribunal Administrator for discussion/decision or she can try once more with BC – this time with you, the other winger arbitrator, present. The Chair chooses the second option + a meeting is arranged. Ahead of the meeting, + in an attempt to lower the temperature, you pick up the phone + call BC. It is brave on your part as it could go either way – it could provoke more acrimony or it could bring a breakthrough. But you feel bravery is required – BC needs to be protected from his own stupidity. There is still time – if the call goes well.

You think about the call in advance. You work out your approach. It has to be “more in sorrow than anger”. You want to win over BC + not drive him into a corner. But BC can be impulsive + take the “angry” option. Your choice of words, therefore, is important. You think it through – even write out an aide-memoire. You remind yourself that your stand on the fees is right but you are now into problem-solving mode. You pick up the phone with some apprehension.

In the event you get it right. Your words are sensitive, not aggravating. You embrace BC rather than drive him into a corner. And BC’s tone in response is soft + understanding, not angry + confrontational. You have made a breakthrough. BC opens up – discusses his domestic problems + the temperature is lowered, not raised. Of course, it could have gone wrong. You could have stumbled over your words + triggered an even angrier response from BC. After all you were challenging his self-esteem, + confronting his pride but, as it happens, you have made a breakthrough. bC backs down and the fees issue becomes manageable. You have done well. But what  did you actually say? What was in the aide-memoire?




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