Remote Hearings in International Arbitration: An Analytical Framework
Journal of International Arbitration 2020, 37(4) (Forthcoming)
36 Pages Posted: 14 May 2020
Date Written: May 13, 2020
Remote hearings are nothing new, but the COVID-19 crisis has forced international arbitration out of its comfort zone. Parties, counsel and arbitrators must adapt to the new reality of conducting arbitrations in the face of travel restrictions and social distancing measures. One particularly thorny question is whether and to what extent physical hearings that cannot be held due to the above-mentioned restrictions should be postponed, or be held remotely, using modern communication technologies. The present article takes a step back from the immediate crisis and proposes an analytical framework for remote hearings in international arbitration. In the context of the current pandemic and beyond, it provides parties, counsel and arbitrators with the relevant guidance on assessing whether to hold a hearing remotely, and if so, how to best plan for and organize it. The article also tests the risk of potential challenges to awards based on remote hearings, looking in particular at alleged breaches of the parties’ right to be heard and treated equally.
Keywords: international, arbitration, hearing, virtual, remote, online, COVID-19, due process, right to be heard, witness evidence, enforcement, award
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