Written by Graham Perry

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

10 June 2022


We have looked at Courage + Speaking Up. Now let’s look at Preparation because this, too, is an issue of Character. In short there are two choices – Skim or Read. Do the first and you are going through the motions – pretending to be an arbitrator + selling yourself short. Harsh words? Over the Top? Not really.

There is just one standard – reading the papers. And I mean reading the papers – noting particular points; highlighting + underlining with one or more coloured felt pens; making margin notes; summarising the points that occur to you. The latter is much under-estimated. You cannot commit everything to memory. The mind cannot work like that. Suppose you are an active arbitrator with a number of appointments – can you remember everything? Really! Come off it! Pull the Other Leg! You may have a photographic memory for football results or instant recall of members of the Government or lines from Shakespeare but these are specific interests – something you follow. Bills of Lading and Certificates of Quality do not fall into that category so Get Noting.

By all means do a First Read-Through in order to commence the process of lodging the key issues in your head but then you still have to get down to the detail – the Nitty Gritty. You cannot Wing It. You cannot adopt a “Seen It All Before” approach. And you cannot rely on other Board Members to do your homework, so back to basics. Be organised, be conscientious, do your duty by the parties. After all, you are a professional. It is your job. It is your 9-5 hours of work and, expect to burn the Midnight Oil.

You make look at your two colleagues (First Tier) or four colleagues (Appeal Tier) and see people upon whom you can rely for knowledge of the detail. Again – unprofessionalism. You know you are merely a follower, nodding in agreement, merely adding a word here + there. No Good. So Be Firm with Yourself. Be Professional. You are accepting a fee.

EPISODE 4. 13 JUNE 2022




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