Written by Graham Perry

Graham Perry M.A. Cantab FCIArb Experienced Arbitration Lawyer | China & Chinese Business Affairs | Public Speaker/Lecturer

2 August 2021


So, you have the picture. Post-hearing evaluations are important, if not essential. We all need to re-examine our work, our performances either by carrying out our own review or with the help of a “best friend” – who presses, probes, and asks the difficult questions. He/She needs to dig a bit for our own benefit.
Now, a linked issue. The performance of your fellow arbitrators. Supposing you are chairing a Panel of Five. The other Four will have different backgrounds, different experiences, and, increasingly, different cultures. Have you thought this one through? London may be an important center of Arbitration with the 1996 Act, experienced lawyers, good administration, + first-class communications but we arbitrators come to the Hearing via our own respective routes.
Here the point is that if the users are international, the arbitrators need to be international. In this regard, are we too London-centric, too UK-centric, too-European-centric? If the users come from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, then the arbitrators should have similar origins? So they need to be encouraged to become arbitrators, do the study, take the exams and then sit as arbitrators.
And then what? In the natural desire to work closely with overseas colleagues, and their equally natural desire to work with UK/EURO arbitrators, have we given sufficient thought to cultural differences? Here I am talking about Diversity – a subject of rapidly growing importance. What is Diversity? How do we encourage Diversity? Are our minds too closed? Do we really understand how to find common ground with arbitrators from different cultures, different backgrounds + different arbitral norms? Are we arrogant + expect them “to do it our way?”. Or are we open-minded + accept the need to share our knowledge and respect our different backgrounds? And what is the role of the Trade and Business organizations that oversee the administration of arbitration? Are they ahead of the game or lagging behind?



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