Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - International Dispute Resolution

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Faculty of Law | International Dispute Resolution | Prof. Rolf Trittmann on "The Fact-Finding Process in International Arbitration"

Prof. Rolf Trittmann on "The Fact-Finding Process in International Arbitration"

On the 15th of December 2023, participants of the IDR LL.M. program were honored to welcome Prof. Rolf Trittmann, partner at Rothorn Legal, to deliver a lecture on the subject of 'Fact-finding Process in International Arbitration’. With experience as an arbitrator in over 100 arbitral proceedings and as a chairman in 25 arbitrations, Prof. Rolf Trittmann stands acknowledged as a leading arbitrator in Germany.


Commencing his lecture by touching upon the fact that the process of fact-finding is not being taught in classes nowadays, Prof. Trittmann has offered the candidates of IDR LL.M. the opportunity to actively participate in in-depth class discussions centered around this crucial subject, emphasizing the importance of fact-finding by illustrating his points with examples drawn from his extensive professional experience.


Furnishing illustrations from both common law and civil law jurisdictions, a particular emphasis was placed on searching for the “truth” in arbitral proceedings. Prof. Trittmann highlighted a notable deficiency prevalent in most of the arbitration rules, especially the lack of guidance on the procedural intricacies on how to conduct the fact-finding process and taking of evidence. These processes, recognized as pivotal instruments in revealing the truth and settling disputes, were noted by Prof. Trittmann as being inadequately addressed within the existing arbitration rules.


To address these gaps in arbitration rules, the involvement of the parties or the tribunal is essential. However, international arbitration provides flexibility by allowing for a blend of common and civil law approaches. Prof. Trittmann illustrated this point by giving examples from “best practices”, namely the soft-law instruments such as the IBA Rules for the Taking of Evidence and the Prague Rules. These rules are quite valuable, particularly when parties hail from diverse legal jurisdictions, as they encourage a more efficient, economic and fair approach to the taking of evidence. Parties may choose to adopt these rules in whole or partially, or even use them as guidelines for devising their own procedures. He concluded his remarks by underscoring the importance of seeking today’s best practices, emphasizing that the so-called soft law instruments have their own inefficiencies.


During and after the lecture, the IDR LL.M. students had the opportunity to raise questions prompted by the presentation, which were carefully answered. The lecture contributed to a deeper understanding of the fact-finding process in international arbitration.


We express our sincere appreciation to Prof. Trittmann for dedicating his valuable time to impart his extensive knowledge and expertise to the IDR LL.M. candidates.


Bersun Dikici IDR LL.M. Candidate, Class of 2023/2024