About your hearing
The moment of your hearing has arrived, and you would like to know how things will unfold and how to behave to maximize your chances of success. Here's a summary of what's awaiting you, along with some recommendations to help you.
Before your hearing begins
The arbitral tribunal is less formal than the Court, but certain rules of propriety must still be observed. The first rule is to be punctual: your arbitrator will have communicated to you the place of your hearing, and you should plan to get there a little in advance. This will save you unnecessary stress. Also plan to wear a suitable and sober outfit.
You will normally be able to drink water or a hot drink during the hearing.
Make sure you carry a valid ID with photo, because the arbitrator will want to confirm your identity before starting. You should also put your cell phone, pager, smart watch or other electronic device on mute, and keep them out of sight.
You will sit at a table with the arbitrator and your opponent. The witnesses will normally be taking a back seat, or may even be asked to wait in another room. The arbitrator will take a moment to explain the proceedings to you and give you some appropriate reminders, then he will administer an oath to you and your opponent. The hearing can then begin.
During the hearing
It is important to be courteous and respectful at all times, both to the referee and to your opponent and witnesses. You should refer to the referee and call him "Madam" or "Sir" unless he is entitled to a specific call because of a professional title, such as "Master". Throughout the hearing, you must address the referee, not your opponent or the witnesses. Listen to the questions to the end before answering them, take your time to formulate your answer, and do not hesitate to ask the arbitrator to rephrase his question if you are not sure you have understood it correctly. If you have a question to submit to the opposite party, you should not ask it directly; you will put it to the referee, and he will redirect it to your opponent if he deems it relevant.
The arbitrator will first question the plaintiff to obtain his statement, to know his position and to understand his claim. The turn of the defendant will come next, as will the hearing of the witnesses. You must only speak when you have been invited to do so by the arbitrator, and in particular, you should never interrupt or speak over anyone else. Similarly, disrespectful non-verbal language, such as sighs, rolling your eyes or inappropriate gestures, should be avoided: it could undermine your credibility and hurt your cause. Never be impulsive or impatient: you will have the opportunity to say everything you have to say when your time comes.
If the arbitrator asks you a question, you must answer it directly and immediately. You cannot avoid or refuse to answer a question, or ask the arbitrator to come back to it later. If you do not know the answer to the question, do not hesitate to say so. Also avoid elaborating unnecessarily or digressing to other topics; stick to what is asked.
Once everyone's version of the facts has been heard, the arbitrator may invite each party to present a pleading for his case.
If the hearing takes a long time, or if the parties feel a need for it, the arbitrator may award a recess of a few minutes.
After the hearing
If the hearing ends while some points have yet to be settled (for example, if all the witnesses have not been heard due to lack of time), the arbitrator may adjourn the hearing and determine a date for its resumption. If the arbitrator has all the elements to make his decision, he will end the hearing and take the case under advisement in order to draft his arbitration award.
According to the law, deliberation cannot exceed three months, but it is usually much faster at Arbitrage Montreal. The arbitrator will send his arbitration award to the parties by email. The arbitration award has the same value as a judgment of the Court. The parties have the obligation to comply with it without delay and in good faith. If it becomes necessary, the arbitration award may even be homologated with the Court in order to enforce its execution.
The arbitrator will send his bill to the Parties at the end of the process, and will return the balance of their advance.
If you have any questions about your hearing, do not hesitate to contact us!