Courts, Mediation and COVID-19
Australian Business Law Review, Forthcoming
32 Pages Posted: 8 May 2020
Date Written: May 8, 2020
Fundamental to the practice of law is the need to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances of human society. The COVID19 pandemic is requiring lawyers, courts, judges and others involved in the justice system (such as Alternative Dispute Resolution (‘ADR’)practitioners) to reassess how they operate in an rapidly changing environment that requires them to use technology to operate remotely and to make use of technological tools that often are not constructed to support the needs of those working in the justice sector. Responses by courts and ADR practitioners vary considerably from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and many responses are ad hoc and informed by a crisis management approach. At the same time, innovation that has often been stalled by inertia across the sector is challenging many to contemplate how rapidly approaches can be introduced to ensure that the justice system can continue to deliver outcomes without increasing delay that can enable economic recovery in the face of a rapid projected increase in disputes. This article explores current response to COVID19 in the context of courts and mediators and also considers these responses in view of past technological developments. The authors note that responses are changing on an almost daily basis in some jurisdictions and therefore note that some responses may alter again as courts and others continue to innovate in this new environment.
Keywords: courts, mediation, technology, COVID-19, coronavirus
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