Plowman v. Esso Australia Resources Ltd.: Confidentiality in Arbitration* – Vol. 2 No. 4


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Author: Hans Smit**

Published: December 1991

Jurisdiction:
Australia
Topics:
Arbitral Adjudication
Confidentiality

Description: Confidentiality is often touted as one of the advantages of arbitration over litigation. But what confidentiality means in this context, what its legal basis is, and to what it extends, have rarely, been the objects of penetrating analysis. The decision in Plowman v. Esso Australia Resources, Ltd. marks a promising change. After a detailed analysis, the Court held that, in a contemplated arbitration between a state-owned utility and purveyors of gas, the parties would not be restricted from disclosing to the Minister for Energy and Minerals information obtained in the course of the arbitration. Although its actual holding is appropriately narrow, the case did prompt a wide-ranging discussion of the concepts of confidentiality in arbitration.

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*Arbitral & Judicial Decisions
**Fuld Professor of Law and Director, Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law, Columbia University.