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Confidentiality in arbitration
Confidentiality is one of the most valued features of London arbitration. Litigation ordinarily involves a public hearing and third parties will have access to court documents 1 whereas the privacy of arbitration enables the parties to avoid their disputes becoming known to competitors, clients or the public. The Arbitration Act 1996 does not include any statutory principles of confidentiality because the drafters considered that it was a difficult area which could be better resolved by the courts on a pragmatic case by case basis. 2 The parties to an arbitration agreement are also better placed to define any duties of confidentiality more clearly, in particular by choosing institutional rules with stipulations for confidentiality. 3
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