In response to COVID-19, the current business landscape is being reshaped by technological acceleration, making it essential for the arbitration community to assess how best to use digital tools and solutions to meet current challenges and demands. future in dispute resolution. Seeing this need, the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR set out to update the 2017 edition of its report on information technology (IT) in international arbitration; however, eventually produced an entirely new resource due to the sudden rise in technology usage.
Led by Canadian arbitrator Stephanie Cohen, a dedicated task force of Commission-appointed experts authored the new report, providing courts, arbitrators and lawyers with a framework to better use technology without compromising fairness or justice. ‘efficiency.
To ensure that a range of stakeholders use technology in a safe, secure and reliable manner, the document offers a wealth of practical resources. These include sample procedural language relating to technology tools and solutions, practical checklists for virtual hearings and things to consider when choosing an online case management platform, as well as a useful template for procedural orders.
Commenting on the pioneering document, Ms Cohen said: “This report is the only resource that examines the wide range of technologies used in modern international arbitration practice, as well as the key principles and practical and legal considerations that influence our selection and implementation of this technology.
I hope that new and seasoned practitioners and arbitrators alike will turn to this report frequently as they seek to improve the arbitral process, not only because of its scope, but also for its easy-to-understand explanations and quick reference appendices. ”
The tool’s findings and recommendations are based on survey responses from over 500 members of the international arbitration community about their experiences and opinions on technology tools and solutions.
The online questionnaire included 26 questions on respondent demographics, case management systems, preference for specific technologies or processes in their practice, such as document streamlining or hearing management, perceptions of value of the technology and the challenges associated with its adoption, for example, lack of training, financial considerations or insufficient technical capacity.
Among the key findings, it was revealed that 93% of respondents believe that technology has transformed officiating by helping to streamline processes and improving the profitability of the process. The results also indicated that the use of technological tools in international arbitration would increase in the future, including a break with old practices, such as paper filings, and the increased use of more underutilized, such as electronic notes with hyperlinked parts. . Furthermore, as the interest and use of online case management platforms continues to grow, we may see new initiatives by arbitral institutions to improve the efficiency of proceedings. ICC is currently designing a secure digital platform for communications and file sharing, with a first phase expected to launch in June 2022.
However, the report suggests there is a need to ensure early consideration of how technology should be operated on an individual basis and to revisit past assumptions about how hearings will proceed in the future. For example, most respondents said they believe there should be no presumption in favor of physical, hybrid or virtual hearings, but rather that courts should decide what is appropriate based on of the circumstances of the case.
Commenting on the Commission’s latest contribution to the innovation and development of international arbitration practice, Melanie van Leeuwen, Chair of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR, said: “The pandemic has served as a catalyst in the use of software and technology in arbitration. While before the global health crisis their use was optional, during the pandemic technological solutions have become essential to continue the arbitration process and ensure that justice is rendered within a reasonable time.
This report takes stock of leading solutions around the world; identifies technological tools that facilitate access to arbitration and improve the efficient conduct of arbitration proceedings; and provides practical guidance on how to implement available technological solutions to ensure a level playing field.
The Commission and its working group will hold a webinar at 15:00 CET today to discuss the report. The program will focus on efficient case management processes, paperless procedures and virtual hearings. International arbitration and ADR practitioners, arbitrators, arbitration institutions and academics are encouraged to attend. Book your place.