Procedure and evidence
Flexibility and privacy are among the main advantages of arbitration over litigation. Unlike court proceedings, there are no formalised rules of practice binding the parties or the arbitrators: procedure is governed by the parties’ agreement and certain essential requirements of procedural fairness. Arbitration should therefore be able to provide the most efficient and convenient procedure for resolution of any particular dispute. However, it can become unduly lengthy and expensive if heavy interlocutory disputes arise or unnecessary evidence is introduced. There is no absolute right under the Act to an oral hearing. Even if an oral hearing is thought to be appropriate, the tribunal may decide to limit the number of witnesses attending to give evidence. The arbitrator’s power to order disclosure will generally not be exercised so as to require disclosure of documents which are privileged. Witness statements may contain the most important factual evidence in a dispute. Expert evidence is usually crucial in the context of maritime arbitrations.