“COMMENT OF THE DAY #38
MORE ON ASSESSING THE WITNESS
Today I am sticking to the issue of assessing witnesses + deciding how much importance you can attach to their evidence. Actually, it is a key part of our work as arbitrators. Does the witness impress? Is their integrity? Is the evidence consistent? Is she/he credible?
As stated previously, in your assessment, you have to be balanced, objective, neutral, impartial, fair + to achieve this, and you have to ask yourself questions as your final decision is approached. Focus on the main issues – not minor. Allow for witness nerves – for arbitrators, the hearing is just another hearing, whereas, for the witness, there is anxiety as they walk into the room. They are tense, on edge, in unfamiliar surroundings—no leading questions. No confrontations. Always be respectful. Give a witness her/his dignity. No rolling eyes. No heavy sighs. No frustrated body language. No huffing/puffing.
But we know all that – don’t we? Or are we dropping our vigilance? Always good questions to ask ourselves and each other. Again – we are professionals, all the way, throughout the arbitration, throughout our careers. We have standards, and the challenge for each arbitrator is to keep to the standards. Always. Every day. Every month. Every year.
Next topic – why arbitration is so enjoyable.