On 23 July 2020, the Austrian Supreme Court (Oberster Gerichtshof, OGH) rendered a decision examining whether conducting an arbitration hearing by videoconference over the objection of a party may violate due process (Case No. 18 ONc 3/20s). To the authors’ knowledge, this decision, rendered in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, is the first national supreme court’s…

February 2020: Everyone was looking at the events calendar for the year. Flights were booked, hotel prices had been compared and the list of people that we hoped to meet and speak to at various conferences was growing longer. Fast forward four months to June 2020 and the picture was bleak: all in-person events cancelled;…

On the second day of the Hong Kong Arbitration Week 2020, the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (“BIICL”) hosted a virtual workshop on the impacts of technology and the pandemic which allows (or rather, demands) us to “re-imagine” arbitration.   Smart Contracts, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies The first panel discussion addressed “Smart Contracts, Blockchain…

The first day of Hong Kong Arbitration Week 2020, hosted by the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (“HKIAC”), was an opportunity for practitioners to discuss the topic: “Socially Distanced or Procedurally Flawed: International Arbitration in times of COVID“, which sought to address some of the ever-evolving challenges of conducting virtual hearings in times of COVID….

This is the second of a two-part blog post series for an upcoming publication titled International Arbitration and the COVID-19 Revolution edited by us. As detailed in Part 1 of this series, the book contains 17 chapters from 31 leading international arbitration practitioners. The focus of the contributions range from procedural topics in international arbitration…

The COVID-19 pandemic has exerted an unprecedented impact on individuals, entities, businesses, and states. National court systems and alternative dispute resolution regimes have also been severely affected. Yet, international arbitration has demonstrated itself to be both adaptable and resilient throughout the crisis and emerged more strongly positioned as a method of dispute resolution for a…

Chile confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on March 3, 2020. Since then, Chilean institutions have designed several solutions to adjust their operation during the sanitary crisis. This brief report provides information about the legislation passed by the Chilean Congress to regulate judicial proceedings. Specifically, we offer an overview of the impact of Law 21,226…

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the interest in alternative dispute resolution, especially arbitrations conducted online. The greater utilization of online platforms and digitization has coincided with the growing frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks. Reportedly, by 2021 a business will fall victim to cyber-attacks every 11 seconds. Therefore, it is critical for…

Once one gets past the fact that the word “asynchronous” is impossible to pronounce or spell, it is an interesting concept, including for international arbitration. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “not existing or occurring at the same time, not coinciding in time.” If you think about TV shows, for instance, some are broadcast…

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”) hosted its Congress on 2 September 2020.  For the first time, the Congress was held virtually.  The Chairman of the Board of Directors of SIAC, Mr Davinder Singh, SC, in his welcome address thanked over 1,000 attendees for attending virtually from all over the world despite time zone differences. …

In normal times, the 32nd Annual ITA Workshop and Annual Meeting would have been an in-person summer event held in Austin, Texas. In this brave new world, the Workshop was completely reimagined to be held virtually via Zoom on 17 – 19 June 2020. Introduced by Joseph E. Neuhaus (ITA Chair, Sullivan & Cromwell), and…

The COVID-19 outbreak as of now affects 183 states and a number of territories. Out of 164 State signatories to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958 (the “New York Convention”) only Marshall Islands, Tonga, Palau are not affected by the pandemic; all 153 state members to the ICSID Convention…

Virtual hearings are not a new idea. The arbitration community only started to seriously discuss the benefits and the logistics of having virtual hearings in lieu of physical hearings when the world was put on pause by COVID-19 in around February 2020. It is not easy to organize a virtual hearing, let alone all the…

The COVID-19 pandemic has already created market volatility and adversely affected the financial position of companies and individuals around the world. This post explores two main ideas: (1) whether the pandemic is likely to result in an upturn in recourse to third party funding arrangements; and (2) whether arbitrating parties should anticipate increased exposure to…

The impact of the pandemic on arbitration has been the subject of several posts on this Blog (see here and here). Rightly so, this is a seismic event in history that certainly has shaken the dispute resolution process, both state sponsored judiciaries as well as arbitration tribunals and practice generally. Entities which fall victim during…

Conducting all or parts of a hearing in the form of a virtual hearing has become a daily reality for many arbitrators, parties, and witnesses as the COVID pandemic continues to disrupt the legal practice. But as countries gradually ease out of lockdown and find their way into a “new” normal, it may be worth…

The travel restrictions and social distancing measures imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic have brought about an exponential increase of virtual get-togethers, including hearings via video conferencing in both litigation and arbitration proceedings. Courts and tribunals in England and Wales reported an increase of audio hearings by over 500% and video hearings by 340% during the…

Travel and other restrictions due the COVID-19 pandemic have meant that virtual hearings have become the “new normal” for international commercial arbitration, and even perhaps for investor-state arbitrations. But what are the longer-term prospects for virtual hearings or “e-arbitration” more generally, and even for the relative popularity of arbitral seats, in the wake of the…

How severely are international construction projects affected by global COVID-19 pandemic? What does the COVID-19 pandemic mean for international construction disputes? As with so many other questions arising in relation to the pandemic, these questions will only be answered definitively in retrospect. For construction arbitration practitioners though, one of the immediate and graspable effects has…

In addition to the serious implications for people’s health and public healthcare services, the COVID-19 pandemic also imposes challenges for the administration of justice.   Increasing Demand for Amicable Methods of Dispute Resolution The current crisis creates a need for business and its legal representatives to consider carefully appropriate and alternative options for the efficient,…

“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” (John F. Kennedy, Former US President). The current Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc globally impacting people in grievous ways. The resultant containment measures by governments have severely limited or otherwise rendered physical interactions impossible. As…

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns have the legal community debating and exploring force majeure. That, however, does not rule out the imminent likelihood of international arbitration locking horns with domestic insolvency law. Arbitration agreements and subsequent awards may possibly be left redundant and award-holders remediless where insolvency proceedings are commenced in respect of…

Long before the now-popular phrase “pale, male, and stale,” leading arbitrators were instead often referred to as a “club,” a “cartel,” or even a “monopoly.” Those references were meant metaphorically, even jokingly. The irony is that they turn out to hold important truths that are promiscuously intertwined with the pale-male-stale moniker. To understand both, we…

Background There is much public discourse on the impact of the ongoing pandemic on international arbitrations. Commentators and scholars have provided perspectives on how to navigate and find safe harbours in the uncharted waters of COVID-19. In the “new normal” of wide-ranging travel advisories and restrictions, there is an emerging consensus to better integrate the…