Let’s say that you were appointed as an arbitrator, having a natural excitement is really great, time for a quick celebration is ok, however, there is a rush of excitement and also you must act promptly and diligently, if the parties are all set, and also the Arbitral Tribunal is determined, you need to have a preparatory conference for the Arbitration which will lead to the Procedural Order number one, also known as the “PO1”.
As I said, having previous experience to arbitrations is not that important, what is fundamental is that you are a good lawyer, and, you already know what you need to be a good lawyer.
Having previous experience in arbitrations, could be an optimal situation for acting as an arbitrator, however, if you are appointed and you don’t have previous experience, you can find that there are out there tons of tools, guidelines and courses, so you can equip yourself with ‘arbitration tools’.
Keep in mind to always remain, neutral, impartial and give the parties the possibility to present their case. The guidelines that you can find as a first stop will be the UNCITRAL Notes on Organizing Arbitral Proceedings, they can help you in setting the preparatory conference to your arbitration in which you can deal with the following matters:
- Determine the arbitration rules
- Language of the proceedings
- Place of the arbitration or the arbitral seat
- Administrative services for the arbitral tribunal
- Deposits in respect of the costs of the proceedings
- Confidentiality of the arbitration as well as a possible confidential agreement between the parties, and between the arbitral tribunal and the parties
- How to send communications between parties and the arbitral tribunal
- The means for sending documents
- Exchange of written submissions
- Procedural aspects on how to provide with written submissions and evidence
- Defining the points at issue, what needs to be settled first and then second, etc. Possible bifurcation of the proceedings
- If there are possible settlement negotiations and the effect on the schedule of the proceedings
- Documentary evidence
- Other evidence
- Expert witness
- Multi-party arbitration
- Requirements on filing or delivering the award
- Schedule of the arbitration
After reviewing all the matters with your co-arbitrators and the parties to the dispute, being agreed and signed by all the parties involved. You can conclude that such “PO1” is the blueprint for your arbitration.
After the agreed terms under the PO1, then the race has started, with that if appointed as an arbitrator, your responsibility will be to issue an enforceable award on time, thus, your award writing tasks starts from such a moment.