DETERMINED NEUTRALITY

DETERMINED NEUTRALITY

Written by Graham Perry

9 August 2021

ARBITRATION #152

Judges are appointed by the Courts. The parties have no role at all. Arbitration is different. In many instances, the Parties appoint their own arbitrators + the appointment relationship sometimes leads to confusion, misunderstanding, crossed wires. We all know this from experience. A Party that Appoints You Sometimes Believes He/She Owns You. We will look at this more closely but let’s start at the beginning + mull over the word “Neutral”.
 
A neutral is someone who is even-handed, impartial, non-aligned, un-aligned, unbiased, without prejudice, independent. A neutral is not partial or biased or inclines in any way to the party that has made the appointment. You are relentlessly + unremittingly straight.  
We need to re-state the key credentials for an arbitrator + remind ourselves of our role + function. Sometimes, rarely, a party appoints an arbitrator in the unexpressed hope or expectation that the arbitrator will be partial or one-sided and view the appointment as an invitation to win the case for that party. Answer? Resist.
 
If you want to build a practice you need to have uppermost in your mind the determination to be independent + to make your decision on the issues in dispute on the basis of the evidence before you + the law is applicable to the dispute. Stick to that role + you can hold your head high + repeatedly strengthen your reputation to be fair, balanced + honest. Anything less + your reputation founders. And you are looked upon with understandable scorn by fellow arbitrators. You are an arbitrator – never an advocate.
 
This rule applies when you may feel that, in reaching a decision that goes against your appointing party, you are letting down that party. Don’t feel like that. Banish such thoughts. Your task is to be fair and impartial (S33 of the Arbitration Act 1996). Always fair and always impartial. You will gain respect + appreciation by doing it the right way.
 
Tomorrow; Complications along The Way

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