Effective Cross-Examination In Asian Arbitrations - Chapter 19 - Take the Witness: Cross Examination in International Arbitration
MICHAEL HWANG won a scholarship to Oxford University and read law at undergraduate and post graduate levels. He taught law at the University of Sydney before commencing private practice in 1968 at Allen & Gledhill (now Singapore’s largest law firm) where he practiced for over 30 years, except for 1991 to 1992 when he served as a Judicial Commissioner (Fixed Term Judge) of the Supreme Court.
COLIN ONG is Managing Partner of Dr. Colin Ong Legal Services, Brunei. Colin is also a Chartered Arbitrator and a practicing barrister in England since 1991 and is a member of Essex Court Chambers and 3 Verulam Buildings in London. He has either been appointed as neutral national presiding arbitrator or acted as counsel in some of the largest commercial disputes in Asia and Europe.
Originally from Take the Witness: Cross Examination In International Arbitration
Experienced practitioners in international arbitration often exchange war stories as to their recollection of how a particular case where they had sat as tribunal or where they had acted as Counsel had been affected by effective cross examination. One sometimes hears of stories whereby an entire case has collapsed because of the fact that the key witness had succumbed to skilful cross-examination by opposing Counsel. The art of cross-examination in fact forms a very important component of the interlocking threads of general advocacy skills . The skill of a Counsel in seeking to put across his case to the arbitral tribunal by way of nullifying or attacking the case theory and credibility of the opposing witness can be vitally essential in seeking to swing the pendulum of victory in his client’s favor.
Leaving aside an impeccable knowledge of the law, a successful cross-examiner will need to have a combination of skills which will include good preparation; forceful but pleasant presentation; practice; graceful decorum; the ability to control a witness and most importantly, the ability to read and effectively communicate his intentions to the arbitral tribunal. An advocate that does not have the last skill will be at a severe disadvantage to one who is able to effortlessly make his case look like the more probable and believable event.