Arbitration has become an increasingly popular method for resolving disputes in various sectors and industries. Skilled arbitrators allow parties to save time and money and maintain confidentiality.
But of course, the profession is always evolving, with new case law, new tools, and new techniques.
Kompass recently updated and refreshed its online arbitration training to keep up with the latest changes. We spoke with the course instructor, qualified arbitrator Andy Livingston, to learn more about the enhancements and the state of the ADR industry in general.
Q. How would you summarize the changes to the arbitration program?
Andy: The fundamental bedrock of the course remains the same, but we’ve added some additional detail, incorporated more examples of arbitration awards, and integrated more up-to-date case law to make it more relevant.
Students are still going to learn the same material. We’ve just added a few additional resources to make it easier for them on their arbitration journey.
I constantly adjust the way I teach. I get to know the students and their goals for the course, then tailor the learning plan to them. I keep the core ADRIC modules but add resources to tailor the course to what the students need and want to learn. It’s all about serving the students and giving them a good experience.
Q. How has the course adapted to online dispute resolution?
Andy: The profession is moving more towards hybrid options using online technologies. This can make it easier for people to access services, which is a goal of arbitration. As a result, we’re focusing more on those platforms and how to use them. We have virtual templates, protocols, and guidelines available to the students.
As an arbitrator, you have to be comfortable with the platforms and ensure appropriate cybersecurity mechanisms are in place. You need to be able to use breakout rooms effectively during the hearings if required.
You also need to ensure the professional qualification of expert witnesses who are now appearing from all over the world due to virtual platforms. You must assess their knowledge of the subject matter based on peer-reviewed articles, conference appearances, etc.
As a practitioner, you need to ensure that clients are competent and comfortable using the technology involved in the hearing. Practitioners must be aware of power imbalances, which is essential to convey to students as they learn about the profession.
Q. What other changes have you made?
Andy: I’ve recently implemented a new learning exercise within the course. After at least two assignments, I facilitate a discussion during which students discuss the decisions they reached within their arbitration award, the reasoning behind those decisions, and the case the law they relied on.
They reflect on questions like how did you arrive at your decision? What was your thought roadmap? How did you weight the evidence? I find that the students gain a lot out of that discussion.
That wasn’t in the core learning modules originally. It’s something I have recently incorporated, and the students seem to find it valuable based on the feedback I have received.
Q. What professional backgrounds do your students tend to have?
Andy: It's very diverse. Many have legal backgrounds, but we also have students from other sectors, including education, labour, commerce, finance, and construction. We also have healthcare administrators and human resources professionals.
Our students come from all over the world, too. I’ve had students from France, Turkey, Hong Kong, Singapore, various African countries, and throughout North America.
Q. Construction is one area where arbitration is growing. Are there others?
Andy: Anywhere there is a dispute, there can be arbitration.
We are seeing arbitration being used in disputes involving seniors, healthcare, condominiums, and sports. Family and labour will always make up a significant portion of arbitration work, along with commercial. It gives citizens more access to justice. Citizens have access to mediation, arbitration, and med-arb to resolve disputes.
Q. What would you want prospective students to know up front?
Andy: If you want to become a qualified arbitrator, this program allows you to do that. If you want to become a professional neutral and learn how to think analytically and make decisions, it’s good for that too. The skills learned in this program can be applied and used in many different professions and career paths.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ARBITRATION TRAINING FROM KOMPASS
The online arbitration certificate from Kompass is accredited by the ADR Institute of Canada (ADRIC) and the ADR Institute of Ontario (ADRIO). The 10-week program fulfills the educational requirements for the Qualified Arbitrator (Q.Arb) designation, which is recognized across the country.
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