There is no mandatory confidentiality obligations applicable to parties to an arbitration proceeding in Vietnam. Under the Law on Commercial Arbitration 2010, dispute resolution by arbitration will be conducted in private unless otherwise agreed by the parties. But hearing in private does not mean that information exchanged by the parties during the hearing must be kept confidential. Law on Commercial Arbitration 2010 only expressly imposes confidentiality obligation on the arbitrators but not on other parties attending the hearing (e.g. experts, witness or even lawyers). Arbitration Rule 2017 of Vietnam International Arbitration Center (VIAC) has no particular confidentiality provision beyond making the arbitral hearing private.
Parties in an arbitration tend to hold their arbitration proceedings on a confidential basis. However, the strictness of confidentiality in arbitration will depend on the jurisdiction and the arbitration rules chosen for particular cases. In other jurisdictions, there are clear confidentiality obligations applying to all parties attending the process (e.g. Rules 24.4 and 39 of SIAC’s arbitration rules).
As regulations respecting the confidentiality of arbitration in each jurisdiction and arbitration institution is different, the choice-of-law provision in arbitration agreement should be carefully reviewed. If the contracting parties to choose arbitration in Vietnam, to avoid disclosure of arbitration-related information by a contractual party to a third party, it may be useful to extend the confidential provision in the contract to all arbitration-related matters (such as proceedings, documents, awards or even the arbitration-related court proceedings).
This post is contributed by Le Minh Thuy, a Venture North Law trainee lawyer.