24 March: Mrs Suzanne Rattray, Engineer, Former Chair of Zambian CIArb Branch
Mrs. Rattray is a senior engineer with more than 35 years professional experience. She has a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from McGill University in Canada, specializing in structural engineering. Based in Zambia, she has had lead responsibilities on numerous infrastructure projects, in the transportation, building and energy sectors, in Africa and the Middle East. She has been a practicing Adjudicator and Arbitrator since 2008 and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. She is listed on the panels of several international arbitral institutions in Africa. Her experience includes international and domestic arbitration and adjudication.
Summary of the conversation
AFAS in Conversation with Suzanne Rattray on 24 March 2022
Ms Rattray shared her journey into a career in Engineering which she has practised as a consulting engineer in the last 36 years and in the last 15 years with focus on mediation, arbitration, adjudication and as dispute board member. Suzanne obtained a degree in structural engineering and she has experience in civil engineering and with issues of climate change more involved in environmental impact assessments. Her arbitration practice developed on the job from her experience of contract administration and disputes management. She now focuses on training in her areas of expertise and has a particular interest in developing the next generation of African practitioners in these fields.
Suzanne’s first appointment as arbitrator came from an institution. She studied hard and continues to develop her skill and learning in the field. This led her to train with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and to get involved with the Zambian chapter which later became a branch. Suzanne paid tribute to our Kenyan colleagues who delivered the CIArb training in Zambia. She encouraged colleagues to read, attend conferences and training events and to work with others in promoting ADR and getting involved with the arbitration community. She emphasised the need to be passionate about ADR. She did this through the CIArb branch. For her this led to more referrals.
On the engagement of Africans in international arbitration, Suzanne notes that Africans need confidence and need to know that they belong and are competent to occupy the space and show up. She also stressed on the need for corporates to report on their diversity and inclusion metrics of dispute management. She then gave her example of engaging with African governments and authorities on the need for them to appoint Africans as arbitrator which we are beginning to see. We must therefore continue engaging with appointors. With particular reference to African women, she noted that they distinguish themselves in their primary profession with skills which they can bring to dispute resolution such as relationship building skills. For the future, Suzanne sees the current generation of senior practitioners ensuring that the door stays open for future generations into the profession; and more opportunities to appoint Africans as arbitrators and counsel.
We are very grateful to Ms Rattray, former Chair of the CIArb Zambian branch for sharing her journey with Prof Emilia Onyema of AFAS.