In this chapter, we examine the English approach to cross-examination generally, how it is altered in the international arbitration setting, contrast it with the cross-examination styles often observed in lawyers from other jurisdictions and identify some of the issues which can arise from these differences.
England has a long tradition of oral advocacy. Whilst in recent years there has been an increasing tendency to use written documents, such as skeleton arguments, these are always a supplement to, and not a replacement of, the oral advocacy.
International arbitration proceeds from two essential tenets:one is cross-culturalism; the other is communication. The successful combination of effective communication in a multi-cultural setting is what sets international arbitration apart and what makes it the premier means of resolution of cross-border business disputes.
‘Effective communication’ of one’s case to an arbitral tribunal hailing (at least in part) from a legal tradition different from one’s own is therefore the challenge facing the advocate in international arbitration cases.Whilst several messages about the strength of one’s case, and the weaknesses of one’s opponent’s, can be communicated via cross-examination in a common law setting, many of these messages may be lost on a tribunal unused to cross-examination, or unreceptive to it.