Arbitration thrives on decisiveness. Arbitrators navigate complex disputes, sift through mountains of evidence, and ultimately deliver clear, concise awards that bring closure to parties yearning for resolution. Yet, even the most experienced adjudicators can encounter a formidable foe: the writer’s block.

Caught in the throes of an arbitral block, an award can morph from a beacon of clarity into a Sisyphean boulder, stubbornly resisting completion. While deadlines loom and expectations mount, the words refuse to flow, leaving even the most seasoned arbitrators feeling like flustered novices.

Fear not, fellow tribunal warriors! This guide delves into the causes of arbitral writer’s block and equips you with a tactical arsenal to break free from its oppressive grip.

Understanding the Enemy: Common Culprits of Arbitral Block

  • Information Overload: Navigating intricate disputes often involves wading through oceans of evidence. While thoroughness is vital, drowning in details can paralyze even the most analytical minds.
  • Decision Fatigue: Rendering fair and balanced awards requires meticulous deliberation. However, prolonged exposure to intricate arguments can sap mental energy, leaving little fuel for crafting compelling prose.
  • Perfectionism’s Paralysis: Striving for impeccable awards is commendable, but the pursuit of flawlessness can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, stalling progress and breeding anxiety.
  • External Pressures: Tight deadlines, demanding parties, and the weight of responsibility can create a suffocating atmosphere, further compounding the block.

Breaking the Chains: Effective Strategies for Arbitral Liberation

1. Acknowledge and Reframe: Recognizing the block’s presence is the first step towards dismantling it. Don’t berate yourself for feeling stuck; instead, view it as a temporary hurdle to be overcome with strategic maneuvers.

2. Divide and Conquer: Break down the award into smaller, more manageable segments. Tackle each section individually, savoring the satisfaction of incremental progress. This can shift the focus from the daunting whole to the achievable parts.

3. Change the Scenery: Escape the confines of your usual workspace. Try writing in a park, a cafe, or even a different room in your home. A change of environment can stimulate fresh thinking and jolt you out of the rut.

4. Embrace the Power of Play: Take a break! Engage in activities that stimulate your creativity and recharge your mental batteries. Read a book, watch a movie, or spend time in nature. Returning to the award with a refreshed mind can unlock new perspectives.

5. Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to reach out to trusted colleagues, mentors, or even writing consultants. Talking through your struggles and sharing experiences can offer valuable insights and alleviate the burden of isolation.

6. Unleash the Inner Artist: Let go of the rigid structure of legal writing and experiment with different formats. Mind maps, diagrams, or even bullet points can spark new ideas and break the monotony of conventional prose.

7. Celebrate Small Victories: Acknowledge and celebrate every completed section, no matter how small. Each word written is a step towards the finish line, and recognizing your progress can fuel further motivation.

8. Remember Your Purpose: Remind yourself of the impact your award will have on the parties. The resolution you bring can have a profound effect on their lives, and focusing on this higher purpose can reignite your passion for the task.

9. Trust the Process: Accept that writing is a process, not an event. There will be bumps along the road, moments of self-doubt, and periods of sluggish progress. Trust that eventually, the words will flow, and the award will take shape.

10. Take Care of Yourself: Prioritize your well-being. Ensure adequate sleep, exercise, and healthy eating. A well-rested and nourished mind is better equipped to navigate the challenges of arbitral writing.

Remember, arbitral writer’s block is a temporary obstacle, not an insurmountable wall. By understanding its causes and employing these strategic tools, you can break free from its grip and reclaim your power as a tribunal warrior. So, take a deep breath, summon your inner wordsmith, and confidently forge ahead to craft an award that is both just and eloquent.

Shafiq Taibjee
Honorary Fellow IICRA (UAE)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *