WRITERS’ BLOCK – EPISODE 3

WRITERS’ BLOCK

Written by Graham Perry

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

28 June 2021

ARBITRATION #122

You are up + running. You are back in control. You have prepared your List of Issues. You have re-located your clarity of purpose. In your mind “the appellants win for the following reasons” + you have them clearly set out in summary. Good news. You have broken the back of a problem that can really undermine your confidence.

Now a new issue arises – “Am I writing what I mean”. Do the words, the sentences + the paragraphs properly convey what you intend to say. A common fault here is overlong sentences with too many twists/turns + excess of commas/colons. Each sentence needs to be a link in the chain but that can be lost if you “crowd” too many points into one sentence. Too many “ifs” and “buts”.

You do need some discipline. Oxbridge educated first-class honours graduates can indulge themselves. They have a lifelong love of language. The rest of us are not so fortunate. We have to exercise control and, here, shorter sentences can assist. It helps with the sequence of reasons if our thoughts + ideas are compressed into sentences with a beginning, a middle and an end – more than a subject, a verb – but not a flurry of qualifying sentences. Clarity, simplicity + the avoidance of excessive + indulgent language is to be recommended.

We all have different styles + favourite words but our principal goal is to explain to the loser why he/she has lost. The winning party might be interested in your reasoning but the award section is his/her go-to viewing. “How much have I won”. The losing party wants more. The loser pays for the award so the award should explain why all the cost has not resulted in success.

More about award writing issues in later arbitration scenarios. It is a big subject with many challenges. But tomorrow a change.

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