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It is not difficult to visualise the rudimentary nature of the arbitral

process in its early history. Two traders, in dispute over the price or

quality of goods delivered, would turn to a third whom they trusted for

his decision. Or two merchants, arguing over damaged merchandise,

would settle their dispute by accepting the judgment of a fellow merchant

which would be given quickly and without any formalities. If you were

looking for an aphorism you might be tempted to say:

“If you want justice, go to the King’s courts

(although the process is likely to be long and

formalistic). If you simply want a decision on a

commercial dispute, go to arbitration.”

It is important to maintain this distinction between recourse to the

courts and recourse to arbitration.

A distinguished commercial judge once said, in a talk to a group of

arbitrators:

“By all means give your decision, because you

will almost certainly be right. But do not give

your reasons, because you will almost certainly

be wrong!”

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