How to obtain documents held by an opposing party in arbitration proceedings?

A client wishes to obtain documents held by the opposing party in the course of a document production phase, in application of the IBA rules on the Taking of Evidence. Thus, it requires assistance in managing this phase.

A party wishes to obtain documents held by the opposing party in the course of the arbitration

A company, party to an arbitration, wishes to obtain, through a document production phase, documents held by the opposing party which it believes are necessary to determine the outcome of the dispute.

Our client's challenge

Obtaining documents held by the opposing party during an arbitration proceeding

A construction company initiated arbitration proceedings against its project owner.


Applicable procedural rules provide for a document production phase to take place between the two exchanges of submissions. This document production phase will be carried out in accordance with the IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence, with requests made via a Redfern schedule.


The construction company wishes to obtain a certain number of documents which it believes to be in the possession of the project owner, in order to prove its claims but also to be able to refute those of the opposing party.


It is seeking advice on how best to prepare its requests for production and its responses to the opposing party’s requests for production.

Our way

Assisting our client in managing procedurally and substantially the document production phase

Requests for production made in application of the IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence must describe precisely the documents requested, specify how the documents are relevant to the resolution of the dispute, and explain that the documents are not in the possession of the requesting party, but held by the opposing party. Only if these conditions are met can the arbitral tribunal grant a request for production of documents.


The document production phase provides for several exchanges for the parties to substantiate their requests and object to the adverse party’s requests. These requests, responses and replies are contained in a Redfern Schedule, in the form of a table identifying the documents requested and the elements justifying the production.


We assist our clients in preparing the requests, in identifying the documents to be requested or in justifying the requests, and in defending their interests faced with opposing requests.


Although these phases are frequent in arbitration proceedings, arbitral tribunals do not easily order forced production of documents, due to the principle that the burden of proof is upon a party forming an allegation. It is therefore important to work on justifying the request and, more generally, to adopt a strategy specific to each case when managing a document production phase.

Related Clients' stories

How to extend an arbitration clause contained in a contract between two parties to a parent company?

A company party to a distribution agreement wishes to rely on an arbitration clause contained in the agreement against the parent company of its counterpart.
Read Story

Why should parties resort to mediation?

Mediation is particularly relevant when parties want to preserve their commercial or contractual relationship. Indeed, the mediator helps them find a common solution without excessively favoring one party over the other and which is satisfactory for both. In the present case, mediation allows the contract to be performed and avoids a lengthy and costly litigation, or even having to find a new contractor to finish the project.
Read Story

How to draft an efficient arbitration clause?

A company seeks to include a model arbitration agreement in its suite of contracts to ensure efficient settlement of its potential disputes.
Read Story