Some followers of this column have called it The Agony Column for Arbitrators/Mediators and that is the perspective that I have always adopted. What do I as the dispute resolver do next? What is the right course to adopt? What are the options and more importantly – what are the principles? Do I really understand the difference between right and wrong?
And I like to present dilemmas that people will recognise and even be grateful for bringing them out into the open. And this particular narrative is one such example. How do I maintain my standards of conduct? How do I deal with challenges when they come along? There are many instances when people in public life fail the test and their judgment is exposed as being driven by selfish financial considerations. Money can corrupt and big money can corrupt big time. All dispute resolvers need to understand – and adopt – the meaning of words such as “integrity”, “honesty” and “principle”.
So, when we review the facts of this narrative the Sole Arbitrator is on a slippery slope. He knows that his conversation with Someone months back was significant. He did hear things from Someone which should ring bells when the penny dropped and he realised the link in the narrative with Someone and his appointment as Sole Arbitrator.
He has reached a Fork In The Road. As a person of honour and integrity, he has to stand down. As a person of selfish calculation he may labour on and he might even get away with it. But it will always be wrong.
In this storyline, we do realise that we are accountable to ourselves. S 33 requires us to be fair and impartial and anything fewer results in a compromise of standards. And standards have to be uppermost in everything we do.
The next topic will be a Mediation of a Planning Application that has run into problems.
It will commence on Monday 7 March 2022