Once you’ve selected your arbitrator (which needs to be a joint decision), what is most likely to happen is that there will be a conference call between the arbitrator, you and your former partner (and your respective legal teams if you have engaged them). During this call, which is quite informal and designed to be more user friendly than a court process, the arbitrator will discuss, in the round, with you or your legal team what steps need to be undertaken in order to bring your case successfully to an arbitration.
On occasion, there may be a further catch-up telephone call with the arbitrator prior to the arbitration itself. This is just so the arbitrator can keep a check on the process and make sure that the directions that he or she has issued have been complied with.
In the first telephone call the arbitrator will also set the date of arbitration, the final terms of arbitration and how long that arbitration is to run for. The arbitrator will also deal with any specific issues that either party may raise. This call is the opportunity for the parties to suggest to the arbitrator how they would like their arbitration process to proceed – for example, is it to be extremely formal and ‘ape’ the court process or is the arbitration to take a much more relaxed and convivial form, more suited to the parties’ individual needs? It’s also the opportunity for the parties to advise the arbitrator as to whether there are parts of their dispute which have been successfully resolved and highlight for the arbitrator those points which are at large and need determination.
The sort of directions the arbitrator may make include such steps as:
- Updating valuations of property values;
- Ordering a single joint expert to report as to, say, the value of a company;
- Directing a pension report, if that information is needed;
- Setting out what financial information is needed to be supplied to the arbitrator and each other;
- Directing that there is written evidence where you both have the opportunity to set out your respective positions. The arbitrator will also place limits on this statement so that the issues can be narrowly defined and contained;
- Any other step or process that the arbitrator thinks is going to be needed in order to give all the parties the best possible opportunity of successfully presenting their case at arbitration and so that the arbitrator will have, at their disposal in arbitration, all the necessary information and materials needed.
At the end of the arbitration the arbitrator will produce a written award and, generally speaking, draft orders, which are going to be filed in court under the special arbitration process and you should very swiftly have your final court sealed orders.
For more information on the issues raised in this blog please do not hesitate to contact Julian Bremner