THE MOST appropriate way to deal with the subject of admissibility of evidence and its relationship with international arbitration is first to examine the notion of admissibility under domestic law. Since the concept essentially has its roots in the English law of evidence, the common law concept will be examined first and compared with the corresponding notion in French law. I will also make some references, albeit restricted, to Middle Eastern law. In this respect, it must be recognized that the corpus of Middle Eastern laws are copies of Western models. For example, Syrian law is an offshoot of the old French Code of Civil Procedure and the Lebanese law of 1983 is in practice a translation of the new French Code of Civil Procedure. However, an ‘exotic’ law of evidence, the Yemeni Republican Decree No. 22 of 1992, which, like Saudi Arabian regulations, still immersed in Islamic law and contains medieval remnants, will be considered briefly.
Once I have dealt with the issue of admissibility of evidence in the English and French systems, I shall examine its treatment under international arbitration rules and practice. I shall then attempt to answer the main question: to what extent may international arbitration proceedings be conducted without strictly applying the legal rules of admissibility?
### (a) Context
A few words are necessary to place the subject matter in the context of English law of evidence. An objection of inadmissibility is most likely to arise on the day of the ‘trial’, or the ‘day in court’, which seems to a civil law practitioner like a ritual in a missa solemnis with no Gregorian chants. Some continental lawyers liken it to a theatrical process, a dramatic moment of judicial process. An objection of inadmissibility is generally raised during this single, concentrated event. This is in contrast to civil …