Hong Kong—the role of documentary evidence in arbitration
Hong Kong—the role of documentary evidence in arbitration

The following Arbitration guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Hong Kong—the role of documentary evidence in arbitration
  • Differences between document production in litigation and arbitration
  • Relevance of any applicable arbitral rules
  • Introducing documentary evidence into an arbitration
  • Establishing the framework for documentary evidence production early in proceedings
  • Documents in the control of third parties
  • Application of rules of evidence
  • Practical tips on introducing documentary evidence into arbitration

This Practice Note sets out the framework for documentary evidence production in arbitration under the Arbitration Ordinance (Cap 609) (AO).

Documentary evidence is essential to the resolution of disputes in international arbitration. It is widely recognised as being of greater significance and is often given greater weight by arbitral tribunals than any other form of evidence.

Differences between document production in litigation and arbitration

The principle underlying arbitration is that the procedure of the arbitration should be flexible and be determined by the parties and where they cannot agree, by the tribunal. This is set out in AO, s 47 which states that it shall be for the tribunal to decide all procedural and evidential matters, subject to the right of the parties to agree on any matter. Procedural and evidential matters are stated in AO, s 56 to include what documents if any should be disclosed, when they should be disclosed and whether any strict rules of evidence should be applied to the evidence.

In practice, in an arbitration in Hong Kong between Hong Kong parties, document production is unlikely to follow the same format as document disclosure in Hong Kong litigation.

The extent of document production in international arbitration is often seen as a middle ground between the often onerous disclosure obligations in common law jurisdictions and the more restrictive and

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