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The worldwide health crisis in 2020 has brought about a greater focus on the use of technology to assist the arbitral process. Read on to learn more.

The worldwide health crisis in 2020 has brought about an even greater focus on the use of technology to assist the arbitral process. International Arbitration has actually been attempting to keep pace with technological changes over recent years, but the COVID-19 crisis has brought the need into even sharper relief.

One of the key issues has been the use of case management platforms that are online, but secure. There has been variable use to date, and feedback from a range of arbitral centres has been that problems and inefficiencies are commonplace. With that in mind, at the time of writing, an initiative by a number of major international law firms has resulted in the establishment of the Working Group on LegalTech Adoption in International Arbitration. That working group has created a draft protocol that seeks to provide best practice guidance on the use of platforms by parties to arbitrations and to steer the providers of such technology as to the practical needs of arbitration.

The aim of any online case management platform is, of course, to bring about efficiency, assist parties to meet their case progression obligations and ensure that all data is kept secure. Security is, of course, a major ongoing concern and has resulted in the drafting of the IBA’s Presidential Task Force on Cyber Security’s Cyber Security Guidleines (2018), as well as the issuing of a draft Roadmap and Annexes by the International Council for Commercial Arbitration-IBA Joint Task Force on Data Protection in International Arbitration Proceedings.

Arbitral institutions around the world have, to a large extent, turned to technology in the wake of COVID-19 in order to ensure that arbitration cases have been able to be filed and, in the case of hearings, that proceedings have been capable of being conducted virtually. Indeed, the major arbitral institutions (including, within the ASEAN +6 (ASEAN with China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India), the HKIAC and the SIAC, as well as the ICC) have been active in encouraging parties to consider constructive means to ensure that the arbitral process continues in what are otherwise globally challenging times.

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International Arbitration: Process and Procedure

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