The 3rd-day hearing commences. The Chairwoman speaks;-
“There is a matter that the Board wishes to bring to the attention of the Parties. Yesterday evening a member of the Board, Mr X met with the Observer, Mr Y. The meeting, I am assured by Mr X (identified by name) did not discuss any matters relating to the arbitration. That said the meeting, innocent and social in nature though it was, should not have taken place. The Hearing is ongoing + whilst it is accepted that our trade sector is relatively small in number, there are proprieties that need to be observed especially during a Hearing. Such meetings/encounters will not be repeated + the Arbitration can proceed in the certain knowledge that nothing has been said or done that compromises the proceedings.”
Both parties request a 30-minute adjournment to reflect + discuss with their respective advisers.
The Hearing resumes. Neither party has any comments to make and the Hearing proceeds.
You, as Chair, have acted promptly. Neither party, especially Sellers (remembering that the inappropriate meeting was between the IBM and Buyers’ Observer) have taken advantage of the issue to register a formal reservation. They can do so at a later stage but on the facts of this case, they would need to act promptly.
The IBM has been identified but non-identification would have, unfairly, led to speculation involving the innocent Board Members.
Sellers would have weighed matters carefully but they sense the arbitration is going in their favour and are loathe to call for IBM’s resignation and a later re-commencement allowing Buyers time to re-group. Buyers are silent because the Observer was their employee.
You have not discussed the matter, intentionally, with the Trade Association lest it might appear that you and the Board are subject to outside influence.
FINAL EPISODE 29 SEPTEMBER 2021
LESSONS TO BE DRAWN