Foreword to the Special Issue on 'COVID-19 and International Dispute Settlement'
Contemporary Asia Arbitration Journal, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 1-6, May 2020
6 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 29, 2020
The Coronavirus disease (hereinafter “COVID-19”) pandemic is the challenge of our time. Millions are infected, and hundred of thousands of lives are lost. In response, national borders are closed, cities are on lockdown, quarantine orders are imposed, and export and import control measures are implemented. There seems to be no facets of our lives that are not deeply impacted by it. International dispute settlement is certainly no exception. International arbitration sees the immediate effects of the COVID-19, while the flexibility and resilience of the international dispute settlement community is working hard to meet the challenges with online hearings or cyber alternatives. Medium and Long term impacts of the global pandemic is also expected, as more disputes are occurring when parties to contracts caught by the pandemic found themselves not able to perform their contractual commitments, and the States around the world rush to respond to the crisis with regulatory measures that inevitably have negative impact on the business big or small. When the progress of globalization comes to a halt, governments are finding their commitment to free trade no longer the first priority. Disputes in the field of international health law are also emerging. Accordingly, we have decided to publish a special issue on “COVID-19 and International Dispute Settlement”. This special issue will address these challenges of our time, and our contributors all ponder the question posed by the pandemic, and strive to find how the international dispute settlement would develop to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 and would work in a way that support the fight against the disease. The current volume includes eleven peer-reviewed articles to address these issues, exploring the impact of the COVID-19 on the international dispute settlement, and the challenges and responses of the various dispute settlement mechanisms. This special issue aims to provide a broad look into how the unprecedented pandemic has uncovered new needs in international dispute settlement, has accelerated the trends that have been existing for international dispute resolutions, and has created various policy responses that will soon be challenged in various forums.
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