NEW WORLD – NEW WORDS – EPISODE 4

Force Majeure

Written by Graham Perry

23 August 2021

ARBITRATION #163

I concluded #162 on 20 August with the words “We are all in the grip of our working norms”. Human beings tend to repeat. And there is safety in repetition – it is something we know + we can train ourselves to perform with greater skill. But, we also have to embrace new things – often outside our comfort zone. And if we have expertise in booking freight, opening letters of credit, + assessing the intricacies of quality claims, then legal terminology, legal thinking + legal culture will be distant from our day-to-day work – remote, different + challenging. But it is something we need to embrace + understand. Not for the purpose of becoming an expert but to grasp an understanding of the ebb + flow of legal argument.

So legal issues such as Estoppel, Waiver, Seat of Arbitration, Procedural Law, Law of the Contract, Force Majeure, Frustration and Jurisdiction have to come within our comfort zone. Not as experts but we need to show we are capable of making decisions on these issues. Anything less + we are letting down the parties.

In the same way, the Lawyers need to learn about the rhythms of the Trade, the Mind Set of Traders + Administrators, the norms of day-to-day practice for the execution of trades, contracts, demurrage. And Lawyers can avoid words such as “trite, otiose, or miscreant”!

This is a two-way street. No talking down by either side. No haughtiness. No arrogance. The lawyer has to learn from the trader/administrator and vice-versa. It is a matter of respect and gives + take. The beneficiary is the Arbitration User – the party that is paying the fees of arbitrators, lawyers + Trade Associations. The User is entitled to expect that all three organisations are professional. It is not Them and Us. As a politician said, recently, at Westminster in a different context “We Are All In This Together”

New Mediation Topic
Parents v School

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