Dr. Bernd Ehle, LL.M. (Northwestern), MCIArb, Avocat (Geneva), Rechtsanwalt (Germany), is a Partner at LALIVE (Geneva/Zurich). The author specializes in international disputes and has acted as counsel and arbitrator in numerous international arbitral proceedings governed by various procedural and substantive laws. He acts as co-chair of the Geneva Group of ASA, the Swiss Arbitration Association, and is a committee member of the European Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb).
This article discusses the use of visual aids, known as "demonstrative exhbits," in international arbitration proceedings. This term refers to graphical representations and other illustrative material that enable parties' counsel to introduce and communicate the evidence itself in a more effective manner to the arbiters. The author references the origins of such tools of communication in U.S. criminal law and civil law proceedings, in which the overarching goal is to win over the jury, and then explains that such means of persuasion as are common practice in U.S. court rooms cannot be transposed to pleadings before arbitration panels and tribunals without further modifications (in that arbiters will, as a rule, come from a different background than jury members). The author discusses the degree to which the use of "demonstrative exhibits" may make sense (or even be advisable) in international arbitration proceedings, especially in cases with a high degree of technical complexity. He also stresses that the country of origin and the specific legal culture of arbiters must always be taken into account, closing his paper with a number of practical considerations for parties' counsel and arbiters.