I. Introduction: Deliberation Meetings and Negotiating Techniques
Even if, as I have stressed before, deliberation is a process that extends throughout the arbitration proceedings, undoubtedly the actual Deliberation Meeting is the critical moment in them, except, of course, when a sole arbitrator is involved in the arbitration. However, in part because of the confidentiality of arbitral deliberations, arbitral decision-making largely remains terra incognita and deserves a “look into the Black Box,” as one prominent arbitrator put it. This is why the subject also has a place in a discussion on the dark side of arbitration.
The Deliberation Meeting is normally held after the parties have exchanged their final submissions and the proceedings have been or are about to be closed. It is the time when the arbitrators finalize and exchange their opinions on the merits of the case and hopefully arrive at an agreement on the terms of the award to be drafted.
Even if their opinion on the case is not unanimous, the deliberation should be the phase of greatest cooperation among the three arbitrators, with all working together in harmony,
with the aim of achieving the best possible decision and doing justice to the parties. When that happens, as it often does, deliberation can be a pleasant and gratifying experience for the arbitrators. They all come out of the process with the feeling of having accomplished a rewarding professional task.