Germany: The Prague Rules

Last Updated: 28 March 2019
Article by Michael Pocsay, LL.M., and Christina Thiele

The "Inquisitorial Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration", the so-called "Prague Rules", were officially launched on 14 December 2018. The Working Group consists of 46 members from 31 countries, including Germany, Sweden, Russia and the UK.

The aim was to create an alternative to the IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence ("IBA Rules") as, in the view of the Working Group of the Prague Rules, the rather common law like approach of the IBA Rules contributed to high costs and inefficiency of arbitration. In contrast, the Prague Rules follow the civil law approach to the taking of evidence with the aim of reducing costs and time and to achieve more effective and faster arbitral proceedings.

An arbitral tribunal may apply the Prague Rules upon the parties' agreement or its own initiative after having heard the parties (Art. 1 Prague Rules). The Prague Rules expressly encourage the arbitral tribunal to take a proactive role. Moreover, the approach regarding the taking of evidence through document production, witnesses and experts is more inquisitorial when compared with that of the IBA Rules, which is more adversarial.

Document Evidence

While the IBA Rules allow the parties to request categories of documents, the Prague Rules provide only for limited options of document production. In general, Art. 4.2 states that the parties and the arbitral tribunal "are encouraged to avoid any form of document production". If a party believes it to be necessary to request certain documents, it should indicate this to the arbitral tribunal as soon as possible, preferably even already at the case management conference and explain the reasons why document production may be needed in the particular case. A request for document production at a later stage of the arbitration is only possible in exceptional circumstances. In contrast to the IBA Rules, the parties may in any case not request categories of documents but only specific documents which are relevant for the outcome of the case (Art. 4.5).

Witness Evidence

Under the IBA Rules, the parties decide which and how many witnesses will be examined at the hearing (Art. 8.1 IBA Rules). Under the Prague Rules, it is the arbitral tribunal that ultimately decides which witnesses will be called for examination. Similarities exist, however, regarding the arbitral tribunal's role at the evidentiary hearing. Under both the IBA Rules and Prague Rules, the examination of fact witnesses is controlled by the arbitral tribunal. Such control includes the power of the arbitral tribunal to reject questions to the witness if, for instance, the arbitral tribunal considers the question to be irrelevant or not material to the outcome of the case (Art. 5.9 Prague Rules and Art. 8.2 IBA Rules).

Expert Evidence

With respect to expert evidence, the Prague Rules stipulate that, in general, the arbitral tribunal appoints experts, without prejudice, however, to the parties' right to submit their own expert report (Art. 6 Prague Rules). The IBA Rules mention tribunal-appointed experts and party-appointed-experts as equal means of evidence.


Art. 8 of the Prague Rules contains the general rule that disputes be resolved "on a documents-only basis" in order to promote cost-efficiency. An oral hearing may be requested by the parties or held if the arbitral tribunal finds it appropriate but should in any case be organized in the most cost-efficient way, especially avoiding travel costs. The provision names examples like limiting the duration of the hearing and using video, electronic or telephone communication for the hearing.

Amicable Settlement

The Prague Rules expressly encourage the arbitral tribunal to assist the parties in reaching an amicable settlement. With prior written consent of the parties, an arbitrator may even act as a mediator and in addition even continue to act as an arbitrator in case the meditation is unsuccessful and further written consent by the parties is obtained (Art. 9 Prague Rules).

It remains to be seen if the Prague Rules will be widely accepted by arbitration users. Common points of criticism are that common law parties would be reluctant to agree on the use of the Prague Rules and that most of the tools set forth by the Prague Rules to increase cost and time efficiency in arbitration are already available to the arbitral tribunal under most arbitration rules and even the IBA Rules. Common law parties may be surprised by the application of the widely known principle under civil law Iura Novit Curia, granting the arbitral tribunal the power to apply legal provisions, including public policy rules which were not pleaded by the parties, as provided for in Art. 7 of the Prague Rules. Nevertheless, the Prague Rules may be an appropriate choice for disputes involving parties with a civil law background which appreciate the familiar approach to the taking of evidence and the cost and time efficiency which may result from proactively managed arbitration proceedings.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Practice Guides
by Mondaq Advice Centres
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions