Lloyd's Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly


Alexander Yean*

Adam Ho

Arbitration is confidential, as are judicial deliberations. One would therefore expect that arbitral deliberations, being a confidential quasi-judicial function within a confidential wider process, would be shielded twice over from disclosure. Equally, however, there exist cases featuring compelling policy reasons for the court to review the records of arbitral deliberations, such as when awards are challenged for having been obtained by corruption or bias. The question of when, if ever, arbitrators may be required to disclose the records of their deliberations is therefore a difficult one, requiring a delicate balance between strong competing interests.
In CZT v CZU,1 the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) considered this question in greater detail than any common law court so far. The authors suggest that the SICC’s answer—that the allegations against the tribunal must be of a “very serious” nature and have “real prospects of succeeding”—is defensible and instructive to other courts that may yet have to grapple with this difficult question.

The facts

CZT arose out of an ICC arbitration seated in Singapore. The Final Award issued in that arbitration was subject to a strident dissent by the plaintiff’s nominated arbitrator (“the Minority”), who accused the President of the Tribunal and the defendant’s nominated arbitrator (“the Majority”) of, inter alia, engaging in “serious procedural misconduct” and demonstrating a “lack of impartiality”.2 On the basis of the Minority’s dissent, the plaintiff applied to set aside the Final Award on various grounds;3 its case was that the Majority had, inter alia, attempted to conceal the true reasons behind the Final Award and lacked impartiality.4 To prove this case, the plaintiff applied to the SICC for disclosure of the Tribunal’s record of deliberations.

The SICC’s decision

Although the plaintiff’s application was made pursuant to the Singapore Rules of Court,5 and the parties made submissions pertaining to the specific application of those Rules,6 the SICC’s decision to reject the application did not turn on Singapore civil procedure. Rather,

Case and comment


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