Hearings are a crucial element of any arbitral proceedings. Although parties may agree to having their disputes solved on a documents-only basis, the majority of arbitrations include an oral hearing where the parties, witnesses and experts will be heard.
A hearing may be held in any venue agreed by the parties, not being limited to the place of arbitration. This gives parties flexibility and allows them to save on costs with travelling to and accommodation in remote locations. The arrangements for a hearing are usually made by and paid for by the parties.
Parties should also agree, prior to the hearing, on the format in which it will be recorded. While for simpler cases, summary minutes may suffice, more complex arbitrations might require that transcripts or verbatim reports are made. Electronic recording is also an option.
The logistical details, form of recording, agenda for the hearing and allocation of time between the parties, inter alia, are usually laid out in a pre-hearing telephone conference between the parties and arbitrators.
After the hearing, parties usually make their final submissions and submissions on costs, before the arbitral tribunal declares the proceedings closed. Once the proceedings are closed, the arbitrators will reach a decision in regard to the dispute and render it in the form of an award.
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