A “Prima Facie” Case – How Much Evidence is Enough?

As an intercompany arbitrator, you know there are no default judgments in intercompany arbitration (Rule 4-1). The filing company does not prevail simply because the responding company did not submit an answer. The filing company still must prove its case.

Further, there are no formal rules of evidence (as is in litigation). All evidence is to be considered and given “weight” based on its relevancy and credibility to all the other evidence presented at the hearing. If the filing company’s evidence proves liability and/or damages, the applicant has proven a “prima facie” or “minimum standard” case.

Remember, the burden of proof in intercompany arbitration is “preponderance of the evidence” (civil matters) not the threshold of “beyond a reasonable doubt” (criminal matters). This simply means that the applicant does not need to provide indisputable proof, i.e., the only possible explanation of what happened, but only needs to show that its factual explanation is more likely true than any other alternative explanations. It also means that all possible alternative explanations need not be specifically ruled out for the applicant to prevail. Many cases are decided within the confines of circumstantial evidence so, when appropriate, remember it is the totality of the circumstantial evidence that matters and whether that proves or does not prove a party's contention. In addition, please note that hearsay evidence can be accepted in arbitration. It can be the reliability of the hearsay that the arbitrator needs to address.