Melbourne Office - PO Box 452, COLLINS STREET WEST VIC 8007 AUSTRALIA
Sydney Office - GPO Box 2506, SYDNEY NSW 2001 AUSTRALIA
Telephone: Melbourne Office - +61 3 9629 3709 Sydney Office - +61 2 9233 2600
Facsimile: Melbourne Office - +61 3 9629 3217 Sydney Office - +61 2 9233 3044 Internet:

User Tools

Site Tools


Technology Arbitrators, Expert Determiners and Mediators


Can subpoenas be used in arbitrations?

Yes, the Courts will assist with issuing and manage subpoenas at the request of the parties and the leave of the Arbitrator.

Further, the Courts may, require the party seeking to issue such subpoenas provide security for the third parties' legal and other costs of complying with such subpoenas.

Care, should of course, be used in drafting such subpoenas otherwise costs consequences may follow.




  • Naumovski & Ors v Ugrinovski & Ors1) Subpoenas - Subpoena issued to non-party – Objection to subpoena - Costs on an indemnity basis – Breach of overarching obligations – Court power to sanction – Sections 19, 20, 23, 24 and 29 Civil Procedure Act 2010 (Vic)
  • Walsh v WorleyParsons Limited2) Subpoenas – Application to set aside – Rule 42.04(1) of Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2005 (Vic) – Whether legitimate forensic purpose exists – Whether subpoenas are vexatious, oppressive or an abuse of process of Court – Whether subpoenas are a breach of overarching obligations pursuant to ss 16, 19, 20 and 24 of the Civil Procedure Act 2010 (Vic) – Some subpoenas set aside wholly or in part as ‘fishing’.
    • Croft J p9, the determination of an application for permission is not to be treated as a de facto hearing of the application to the Court for the issue of a subpoena. Parliament has given that role to the Court not to the arbitral tribunal. I see no support in the language of s23 for any conclusion that the application to the court proceeds in the nature of a merits review of the decision of the tribunal. This is particularly so as neither the Act nor the Model Law countenance any merits review or appeal from decisions of an arbitral tribunal. p10 On this basis, it is sufficient to observe that the arbitral tribunal has conducted the informed evaluation 4)… for the purpose of deciding whether or not to grant permission.



1) [2015] VSC 49
2) [ 2015] VSC 135
3) [2015] VSC 183
4) The Arbitrator, must make an informed evaluation, honouring the duty imposed by article 17.1 on the tribunal to “conduct the proceedings so as to avoid unnecessary delay and expense and to provide a fair and efficient process for resolving the parties’ dispute”. That informed evaluation must involve an examination of the issues put in dispute by the statements of claim and defence and whether the documents the subject of the proposed subpoenas have apparent relevance to the issues, the subject of the arbitration and whether therefore the proposed subpoenas serve a legitimate forensic purpose.
5) [2014] VSC 635
6) [2013] WASC 290

  © White SW Computer Law 1994-2019. ABN 94 669 684 644. All Rights Reserved.
  Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation
  This website is a guide only and should not be used as a substitute for proper legal advice.
  Readers should make their own enquiries and seek appropriate legal advice.
  For legal advice please email