International arbitration - Increasing delays and rising costs: does document production have a role to play?


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Following on from the high level of interest shown in BLP’s survey of 2012 on delay in the arbitration process, BLP’s International Arbitration Group has now published the results of a third survey conducted amongst arbitration practitioners - this time on document production. The survey explores whether document production in international arbitration is seen as contributing to costs and delay, the differing perceptions of the process across legal cultures and whether there are steps that can be taken to make production quicker and more cost-effective.

Research based report on perceptions of document production in the arbitration process

In 2012, BLP’s International Arbitration Group conducted a survey on the problem of delay in international arbitration. The 2012 survey demonstrated that there is a considerable amount of concern about the time it takes to complete arbitration proceedings. There are various reasons for this – many of them perfectly legitimate. However, what the survey responses highlight is that arbitrators and parties alike should continue to be vigilant in monitoring whether arbitration practice matches the objective of achieving a process that is both fair and efficient. This involves keeping under review how well each of the individual steps in the process meets those criteria. With this in mind, we decided this year to conduct a survey on attitudes to document production in international arbitration

We were interested in ascertaining whether document production was seen to be contributing to delays and expense in international arbitration. How important is document production in the arbitral process? Is document production administered in the most efficient way? Are there steps that could or should be taken, either by the tribunal or by the parties and their counsel, which would make production quicker and more cost-effective?

Are the IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration helping or hindering the process? Are arbitrators investing enough time up-front to make informed decisions on document production? We hope that by eliciting answers to these and other questions, we can encourage the adoption of more efficient processes.

The survey received a strong response and flags up some interesting perceptions about document production in international arbitration, and what constitutes best practice.

For more information you can read the full report.

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