10 JANUARY 2024
MR HEAVYWEIGHT REFLECTS
Episode 6 concluded;-
“Mr Heavyweight is quiet and reflective especially when his wife reminds him that the arbitrator’s gossip mill will learn of the incident and enjoy hearing of his discomfort. “After all”, she says “Although arbitrators are principled people in the main, the word will get out”
Mr Heavyweight’s bluster has gone. He slumps back into his favourite chair, whisky in hand and realises he has to pull back from the brink. The long term matters.”
She is right, Mr Heavyweight reflects. News of this unusual termination of the arbitration will become known. Not because of leaks from the remaining two arbitrators but within the legal profession and among the two parties the word will get out and become discussed because there will have to be a re-start of the abandoned Hearing with a new Tribunal And what appears to be Mr Heavyweight’s bravado will be seen in a more critical light. His reputation will suffer.
Mr Heavyweight is being pragmatic. He is weighing up “the pros and the cons”. He still does not think he has done anything really wrong. Maybe a little over-the-top but nothing, he thinks, that is not done by other arbitrators. But here he is wrong. Arbitrators do not become confrontational or abusive – in the main. Yes, there are occasions when feelings rise and things get said but generally they are put right with a quiet word, even a phonecall later in the evening.
So when the Tribunal meets the following morning, Mr Heavyweight’s contrition even apology is less than convincing. He says the right words but he is going through the motions and his words do not persuade the Chair or the Lady Winger.
The Chair, with growing authority, speaks with unmistakeable clarity and purpose “I will be frank. I think you are going through the motions. Your words are not persuasive that your apology is genuine. You are experienced and capable and knowledgeable but what is at stake is not your expertise as an arbitrator but your inappropriate behaviour as a Tribunal member. Warming to his theme the Chair continues and, making direct eye contact with Mr Heavyweight, he continues “flouting the directions of the Chair is unacceptable and berating a fellow member of the Tribunal as you have done cannot be allowed to happen. In my view you fell well below the standards expected of an arbitrator of this Institute”
Mr Heavyweight is taken aback. The silence in the room is oppressive. Moisture gathers around Mr Heavyweight’s eyes. In an effort to recover his composure he pours himself a glass of water and moves his body position in his Chair. He fiddles with his pen. His brain is working overtime. He is really in a pickle and he knows he has to go further than he intended. In popular parlance he is “crawling”.
He speaks slowly and with a discernible breaking voice “I want to make a full and unqualified apology. I have fallen short of the standards expected of a qualified arbitrator of this Institute. I apologise to the Chair and I apologise to my Lady colleague and I hope that my future conduct will be free of the disreputable behaviour that I have displayed in this case.”
FINAL EPISODE – WILL THE WORDS WORK?