Obtaining evidence from third parties poses a unique problem in international arbitration. Unlike litigation, the consensual and private nature of arbitration means that tribunals lack the authority to compel third-party disclosure given to many State courts. Yet even if they are not subject to the tribunal’s jurisdiction, third parties to the proceedings may still possess valuable evidence.
This article considers the practical options for obtaining evidence from third parties, whether through requests by the arbitral tribunal itself or judicial assistance from State courts. In the latter case, national laws must balance the interest of supporting arbitration against the risks of judicial interference and the potential burden of disclosure on third parties, and resolve this dilemma in very different ways. Given the lack of uniformity on judicial assistance, and the fact that evidence is frequently located in a different jurisdiction to the arbitral seat, practitioners may make strategic use of procedures such as those under US federal law to gain the benefit of third-party evidenceJournal of International Arbitration