The power of the parties to appoint a neutral in the resolution of a dispute is of immense importance. This could be in an arbitration, mediation, negotiation or other hybrid forms of alternative dispute resolution.  A good example is international arbitration, where the appointment of the arbitrator forms one of the cornerstones of a successful arbitration.

Parties, usually take the responsibility to appoint a neutral, whether it is a lawyer or arbitrator, or mediator or negotiator seriously. Mainly because various factors are normally considered in the appointment of a neutral from cultural factors, to personal needs as well as jurisdictional provisions. An understanding of the cultural and political factors of a particular neutral, always helps parties determine who they decide to appoint, either individually or collectively.

London has a proven track record in arbitration as a sought after seat. This is together with its renowned legal practitioners who are  notable neutrals. The developed countries have arbitration-friendly provisions, because they understand the demands of international business, and the need for the resolution of disputes, as soon as practicable in an inexpensive means. However, this is not the same with developing countries. What happens with developing countries, though most are signatories to the New York Convention, is a situation where they all seem to do a catch-up with the developed countries. Ironically, some of the developing countries, especially in Asia have come up with fantastic provisions; notably in arbitration which have been widely recognised, such as Singapore.

Currently, there are so many arbitration seats to choose from, an obvious competition between the various seats from Paris , London, New York, India to Dubai etc.

A familiar scenario for most people is litigation.  Here the parties choose their representatives, based on their financial capability. As a matter of fact, the ability to pay for a good reputable lawyer to a large extent,  guarantees a successful litigation. Many litigation cases have been won solely on the basis of hiring a good lawyer, who more often than not are expensive.

The power of parties in a dispute to act accordingly over intangibles, such as respect, self-expression, self-determination and self-confidence is unquantifiable. A loss of these intangibles, can cause an escalating distress and suffering. This explains why parties take their responsibilities and duties seriously.

Disputes are inevitable , although sometimes avoidable. Parties with their powers in the resolution of disputes, can make the process, one that makes the journey worthwhile. Through tolerance, peaceful resolution of dispute, respect for human rights and valuable friendship.

Do parties use their powers effectively in the resolution of disputes?