It is an honour to be asked to provide a foreword for this insightful book on arbitration. The book has several appealing features.
First, the topic has been approached in a conceptual way. The easy way of writing a legal textbook is to set out the relevant legislation and then annotate it with relevant decisions. Judge Willy’s book is of a higher order altogether. Unseen hours have gone into synthesising the effect of relevant legislation and decisions. The result is seamless, readable, and much more useful to the reader than a collation of undigested decisions.
Secondly, the book contains much that will be of use to the practitioner at a practical level. Included are chapters on preparing a case for arbitration, conducting conferences and hearings, note-taking and writing an award. This kind of advice can be provided only by someone with the author’s vast experience as a judge and arbitrator. It cannot be extracted from a study of the legislation and decisions alone.
Thirdly there is much that is contemporary and original. For example there is a chapter on the AMINZ Arbitration Appeal Tribunal which has now become available as an appellate alternative to the courts. Judge Willy points to its confidentiality advantages. To those one might hope to add speed (no leave required, one level of appeal only and shortened time limits), economy (resulting from the fast-track procedure) and expertise (mainly former judges with extensive arbitration experience). Less palatable to the wider community, although of little concern to the parties, will be the loss of publicly-available precedents that could result. It will be interesting to see whether AMINZ can persuade at least some parties to appeals to agree to reporting of decisions after removing identifying characteristics.
Finally, the book is very readable. Human touches are sprinkled throughout, particularly in the practical guide section. For example, pointing out that the arbitrator’s notes may form part of the record for future court purposes, Judge Willy goes on to comment that “It is unhelpful for the tribunal to record its views in derogatory terms. Notes such as “liar” or “nonsense” or “really!” appended to evidence do not look good in the eyes of an appeal court.”
The book is a happy addition to the world of arbitration.
To purchase a copy of the book please visit the Thomson Reuters website by clicking here