CIArb Features

Heated Debate: Giving Evidence in the Hot Tub

11 Oct 2018

What is witness conferencing?

Witness conferencing is used to describe the taking of oral evidence from multiple witnesses concurrently. Described by one leading arbitrator as a ‘novel evidentiary process’, it is mostly, but not exclusively, used when expert witnesses give evidence. Witness conferencing is recognised in (among other things) the IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration, and the ICC Commission Report on Controlling Time and Costs in Arbitration.

Witness conferencing is not, however, a single defined procedure. For example, some tribunals take the lead in questioning the witnesses with limited involvement of counsel. At other times, the process can involve a mix of traditional cross-examination by counsel and a panel discussion among the witnesses of the issues in dispute. One of the attractions of witness conferencing is its adaptability to suit the nature of the