Confidentiality in international arbitration
Produced in partnership with Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Confidentiality in international arbitration

The following Arbitration guidance note Produced in partnership with Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Confidentiality in international arbitration
  • Agreements on confidentiality between the parties
  • Confidentiality and national legislation
  • Confidentiality and national courts
  • Confidentiality and arbitration rules

Arbitration is often assumed to be confidential because of the private nature of the proceedings. Indeed, users of arbitration often cite ‘confidentiality’ as an important advantage over court litigation.

However, there is a significant distinction between privacy, which relates to the closed nature of the hearing, and confidentiality, which may or may not attach to any information, materials and documents disclosed between the parties, including the award. Confidentiality in this context refers to the obligation on the parties not to disclose information concerning the arbitration to third parties.

National legal systems take conflicting approaches as to whether arbitration is presumptively confidential as well as to the scope of any implied confidentiality obligations. The extent to which arbitration is confidential will depend on the agreement between the parties, the applicable law and the arbitral institution or ad hoc procedural rules chosen by the parties.

Maintaining the confidentiality of arbitral proceedings and associated documents is often important to parties engaging in arbitration as means of dispute resolution. In the absence of express agreement, confidentiality in arbitration is determined by a matrix of national legislation, court decisions and applicable rules. You should not make assumptions as to the confidential nature of arbitral proceedings or any documents disclosed as part of the arbitral process and should consider carefully the choice of law provision in any relevant arbitration agreements.