Often we may have to arbitrate conflicts. Keeping in mind these 10 points will prove helpful during such situations.
- Keep in mind that: your goal is to decide the dispute in accordance with the mandate the parties have given you; it is not to impose your judgment of fairness. Simply splitting the difference is a cop-out.
- If the dispute involves the rights of the parties under a contract, guide yourself by the contract’s terms which usually limit you to an interpretation and application of the contract. You have no authority to add to, subtract from or modify its terms.
- If interest claims are involved, guide yourself by the criteria in the stipulation of the parties submitting the dispute to arbitration.
- While the atmosphere surrounding an arbitration is usually less severe than in a courtroom, you are the final decision-maker and you should conduct yourself as a judge would but without the black robes or elevated presence.
- It is not good form to speak to one party in the absence of the other side even on matters unrelated to the arbitration; it is especially bad form if the matter has to do with the arbitration.
- If the opportunity arises, you may wish to try to mediate. But neither say or do anything in mediation that might prejudice your ability to make a decision on the merits.
- Your decision and opinion should be confined to the case before you. You should not include any incidental or supplementary remarks.
- You should not allow anyone unconnected with the arbitration to be present in the hearing without the consent of both sides.
- Your decision and opinion should not be made public without the consent of both sides.
- You should agree with both parties in advance on the terms of your compensation. After an award, this may prove more difficult.
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