Written by Graham Perry

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

8 June 2022


As regular readers will have come to observe this Column focuses on dispute resolvers (DRs) as human beings as well as trained professionals. The specific step-by-step training that arbitrators + mediators undergo is provided by professional trade bodies. This Column addresses issues that all DRs encounter in the course of their work. They are not on the syllabus for professional qualification. And yet they are just as important.

To be a successful DR you need, first + foremost, to possess character which is calibre, make-up, integrity + rectitude. You know the difference between right + wrong, and display uprightness + temperament. You eschew partiality, one-sidedness, personal advantage, manipulation and deception. These are given + do not come as a surprise to any DR. But how are you when such negative characteristics occur in a hearing? . You recognise it – you see it – but what do you do about it? This is an important test + there are two aspects – first recognising it and, second addressing it. Most people are OK with the first but many people struggle to know what to do – and take refuge by waiting to see what fellow DR’s say.

Let me give you a golf parallel. You are playing in a competition and you are scoring the card of a player in your group. You see him cheating – he moves a stationary ball with the outside of his golf shoe to give himself an easier next shot. At a minimum you have to penalise him by adding one shot to score. You should also report him. The player was a big personality. The marker was “one of the crowd”. Many markers, intimidated by their responsibility, would “not make a fuss”. Wrong. The marker has a duty to himself + to all the other players in the tournament to report the player to the people in charge of the tournament. 

An arbitrator faced with a similar situation cannot go missing. He/She has to say/do something. Stay silent and you have failed the test.  




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