12 Feb 2019
Aristotle once said that “Education is an ornament in Prosperity and a Refuge in Adversity”. It is therefore crucial that professionals of dispute resolution continuously educate themselves, which proves to be essential in times of adversity. By educating ourselves, we not only learn to adapt and apply different methods, but we also stimulate our minds to welcome innovation.
This underlines the key role that Education and Training play in promoting access to justice through diverse dispute resolution methods.
As such, I am particularly proud to be a member of the CIArb (Chartered Institute of Arbitrators), an organization which is a pioneer in the education of the learned society. CIArb promotes ethical standards and international best practices, which are key to restoring and maintaining a positive image of the profession. With a membership of about 16,000 professionals with a special interest in private dispute resolution across the globe, CIArb enjoys immense acceptability and diversity. The CIArb members bring a wealth of unparalleled experience, expertise and knowledge from their respective fields of practice, legal systems, cultural and geographical locations to the activities of the Institute.
It is by nurturing a vision of fairness and justice and by acting as architects of peace through appropriate use of all ADR methods with professional integrity, that we will ensure the prosperous future of arbitration and other ADR mechanisms as efficient alternatives to court litigation. Am confident that the CIArb has a central role to play in the improvement of dispute resolution methods in times of crisis.
The CIArb has been at the forefront of developing and strengthening the skills of its members. Capacity Building mainly takes the form of mentoring and training in ADR mechanisms. Younger and newer members to the profession are given a chance for pupilage and mentorship at established arbitration firms in order to enhance their knowledge and skills. The CIArb has developed training plans and teaching materials and conducts training sessions to equip members with the knowledge and tools to undertake their responsibilities. It plays a unique role in furthering the profession and in encouraging and facilitating the use of ADR in all its branches and chapters worldwide.
It has a long-standing history in promoting best practices in the field and offering guidance through research, scholarly publications and journals which are recognized for their academic excellence.
As a further demonstration of their intent to improve the profession, CIArb has developed instruments such as Guidelines, Protocols and Practice Notes to assist parties and ADR practitioners in organizing proceedings and/or to provide guidance in areas where problems with cost and efficiency were most obvious and where “repeat – offender trouble spots” occur. The instruments are typically designed to clarify and support specific arbitration rules or are limited to particular problems.
Further, the aim of the instruments was to “set-out in non-legal terms and form an objective point of view”, the factors that ADR practitioners should bear in mind when dealing with a number of procedural issues in order to help them focus on “the more important factors for consideration”.
They cover various situations which commonly arise in practice. Currently, CIArb has published updated guidelines on:
The guidelines, which are under constant review by the Practice and Standards Committee (PSC) serve as a useful companion for all those who get involved in dispute resolution, regardless of whether they are newcomers or experienced practitioners. As we all know, CIArb through its branches and chapters across the world, supports all its professionals by providing them with worldwide and standardized training, accreditation and networking opportunities.
It is therefore incumbent upon members to take advantage of CIArb’s Continuous Professional Development Programs, in their branches and chapters to further enhance their skills set and knowledge. CIArb will shortly roll out a series of short courses on Negotiations, Expert witness, Tribunal Secretaries and Workplace Mediation in order to further enhance their members’ capacities. Plans are also underway to give members access to online courses covering Management and Leadership, Personal Development and Project Management Skills.
This will ultimately create a huge pool of skilled, knowledgeable and vibrant arbitrators who will elevate the arbitration profession to the next level.
Jackton Olachi, MCIArb, is a practising arbitrator based in Nairobi, Kenya.