The appellant’s advocate was indignant. You have touched a chord. His ego has taken a knock. But that is not your concern. You have one Master – Fairness. Avoiding unnecessary costs + avoiding delays is also being fair. The arguments of both sides will be heard – within quite reasonable time limits. Nobody is prejudiced. Don’t be unnerved by the warning that you are “committing a serious irregularity which will come before the courts” – that comment is made to make you worry. Don’t.
You are 2-1. The winger arbitrator appointed by appellants is equivocal – on the issue itself + because the individual that appointed her is sitting in the Hearing—an interesting point for future storylines.
If you are comfortable delivering the decision without an aide-memoire, that is fine. After all, you do not have much to say. But you do need to say the right words – so at least have a quiet rehearsal to yourself. A pit stop helps!
Alternatively, write it out – sometimes this gives people confidence. But two points – don’t avert the advocates’ gaze. Make eye contact on your terms, not theirs. Also, speak clearly – neither too fast nor too slow. Don’t rush it. Don’t be apologetic. Make sure your chosen words mean what they say.
You are the Chair. You are in charge. Exude authority. Sit upright. Get the words out + be efficient. Conclude your decision with a direction about the opening submissions – maybe give the parties 30 minutes to re-arrange their opening submissions which will be time-limited to 30 minutes.
This is a test of nerve + some Chair worry too much. Maybe, for this reason, they should not be Chair. Am I really being harsh? What you do + say and how you carry yourself are key aspects of being the Chair.