Thereafter the commencement of the arbitration
proceedings and the selection of the appropriate arbitral tribunal, the
representation of the case follows. Maritime arbitration Institutions have
specific rules about the way of conducting that part of the procedure, as it
can also be seen in all institutional or ad hoc rules of arbitration.
According to London Maritime Arbitrators
Association (LMAA), either the parties or the arbitral tribunal can choose to
proceed on documents only representation of the case1,
whereby a specific time is given to parties to prepare their documents.
Although written evidence seems easier, both parties or the tribunal can decide
that the hearings will be conducted orally (LMAA Rules, article 15 d). LMAA
Rules provide specific Schedules, which have to be followed in order for the
arbitration procedure to be completed properly. In the Fourth Schedule, it is
analyzed the way of proceeding with documents only procedure or oral hearings.
In the latter event, parties can call witnesses or request for expert witnesses,
transcripts or even provide the tribunal with documents of witnesses (Fourth Schedule,
Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre (EMAC)
mentions in article 30 that there can be oral hearings, without excluding the
documents only procedure. Particularly, it is stated that “.. in the event of an oral hearing..” , letting a legal void,
whereby parties or the arbitral tribunal can use only documents in the dispute
resolution, where it should be more appropriate for the efficiency of the
procedure. Where oral hearings take place, there can be presented witnesses and
expert witnesses (Article 30.3 EMAC Rules).
In this institution, we can notice that party
autonomy can be limited if the tribunal finds it necessary and specifically the
tribunal can appoint expert witnesses to examine certain parts of the dispute2.
The appointment of expert witnesses can be conducted after the consultation
with the parties.
In Transport and Maritime Arbitration in
Rotterdam- Amsterdam, the opposing parties can continue their procedure orally
unless they decide to use document only arbitration. However, TAMARA differs
from other Institutions, because it is expressly specified that if the amount
of the claim is up to 25.000 euros, the procedure will necessarily take place
with documents only, without oral hearings (article 4.8 TAMARA Rules).
Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration states
that the procedure will take place with oral hearings (article 28.1 SCMA
Rules), unless the parties have agreed on documents only arbitration. It can be
seen that in the same rule (28 of SCMA Rules), the institution enlightens the
fact that the arbitral tribunal shall give to parties certain questions on
matters, in which there should be given consideration. Therefore, parties can
conduct the hearings with witnesses, which they shall be listed before the
conduction of the proceedings and after the allowance of the tribunal, expert
witnesses can be selected3.
China Chamber of International Commerce gives
parties the opportunity to proceed either with oral hearings or only with
documents, according their agreement4.
However, as mentioned in the same article, the arbitral tribunal can conduct
the procedure with the most suitable hearings- oral or documents only- and
differently from parties’ agreement.
Rule 14 of Maritime Arbitration Association
(MAA) of the United States provides parties with the party autonomy, according
to which parties can choose between oral hearings or documents and briefs. In
every case, both parties have specific and equal time to be prepared to present
1 The London Maritime
Arbitrators Association (LMAA) Rules, article 15 (c)
2 EMAC Rules, Article 31.1
3 SCMA Rules, Article 30.1,
4 China Chamber of
International Commerce, Article 31