We have been looking recently at the qualities of an arbitrator and, in particular we have been examining confidentiality, speaking up/talking up previous cases + pre-hearing preparation. This last topic has an aspect that is not always apparent as it is rarely discussed but it is always covered. Is your preparation organised and planned or is it done the day or days before the Hearing?
I am going to surprise you with the answer – It Does Not Matter. What is important is that, with one exception, you arrive at the Hearing ready to go. You come out of the traps all guns firing – you know the issues, you know the papers, you have marked and cross-referred sometimes in one colour pen sometimes in more to identify a colour link with the arguments of both sides. But you are there. Your knowledge of the case is as good as the next man/woman.
But why the difference? Why are some arbitrators focused on pre-reading step by step and others leave it to just a few days before the Hearing? The answer is that we are different. Arbitrators have different work styles – some like the organised well in advance approach whilst others prefer to deal with the case + the papers when the case is coming up and not before. I remember one well-known arbitrator – and trade representative – who adopted the Last Minute Approach saying he knew everything about the case on Day 1 – everything but that it was all gone a week later as the next case had become the priority.
The exception – preliminary issues, interlocutories. Here an arbitrator who wants to do the job properly needs to be informed in order to contribute to the Tribunal/Board’s decision-making on parties’ applications. But these issues are, in the main, procedural and require an understanding of the issues but not a page-by-page detailed knowledge of the documents – that can come later.
15 JUNE 2022. EPISODE 6 – TIDYING UP