ARBITRATION AND MEDIATION #191
We have to know the law of arbitration and mediation. We need to study, take exams, submit ourselves to ongoing scrutiny and continue professional development. We have to be alert, eyes wide open, aware of developments in the process of arbitration and mediation, up-to-date with relevant new laws and judgments. We need qualifications. We need to be tested on the way up so that when we begin to practice, we are abreast of current developments. It is like a marriage – we do need to renew our vows and aim not simply to be the best partner but also the best arbitrator and the best mediator.
But conscientious attention to developments in the profession and being abreast of the developing law is not enough. There is one further quality that we need to have uppermost in our minds as we carry out our daily obligations – we must adhere to standards. We must be fair and balanced in everything we do. It is not enough to know the words of S 33 of the Arbitration Act 1996, we need to know the meanings of “being fair and impartial”, of “avoiding unnecessary delay and expense”.
Are these merely trite words to be trotted out when issues arise or are they a set of ethics and standards that we need to live, eat, drink and breathe. Do we ask ourselves sufficiently frequently whether we are acting fairly? Are we being impartial? Do we really prevent delay and avoid unreasonable costs.?
Part of the problem here lies with the teaching. Often the teachers have more to say to us about jurisdiction, waiver/estoppel, a breach of condition v a breach of warranty. Don’t get me wrong – these are key issues but we have to approach them, every time, with the right set of standards that mark us out as safe, reliable, conscientious people capable of carrying out the duties of the dispute resolver. More to follow about the tests that we encounter as we practice our skills.
MORE ON ETHICS AND STANDARDS ON 8 FEBRUARY 2022.