The International Bar Association has just published the update of its hugely influential IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration and their Commentary.
For those looking for an overhaul, perhaps to usher in the brave new world where technology takes over the arbitration process, this will be a disappointment. It is evolution, rather than revolution.
WagArb Of Counsel Laura Halonen, who was a member of the Task Force responsible for the update, comments that “there were some pretty innovative proposals put forward, giving rise to intense discussions, but in the end those were rejected as a matter of principle, in favour of a more cautious approach.”
“This makes sense”, Laura continues. “Something that is not broken, need not be fixed. The IBA Rules have served the arbitration community very well. Some provisions, such as Article 3 on document production and Article 9 on the evaluation of evidence, just needed tweaking in order to take into account recent developments and experience under the 2010 Rules.”
In the end the main change – a new provision (Article 8.2) on virtual hearings – overtook the process. Laura mentions that it was not put forward in the original discussion, but “as the pandemic physical hearings difficult next to impossible, it became evident that this was one topic on which the IBA Rules needed to take the leap and look ahead to where our profession is going, rather than where it has been.”
We thank the IBA Arbitration Committee for the timely update and look forward to continuing to draw inspiration from the IBA Rules in our virtual as well as old-fashioned face-to-face arbitrations in the years to come.