The Impact of COVID-19 on International Arbitration—Hiccup or Turning Point?
Contemporary Asia Arbitration Journal, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 7-44, May 2020
38 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2020 Last revised: 3 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 29, 2020
COVID-19 had an immediate and significant impact on the practice of international arbitration. Nevertheless, arbitral institutions, arbitral tribunals, counsel and other participants learned quickly how to deal with this new challenge. The crucial question is whether there will be long-term impacts by these COVID-19 experiences on international arbitration even once this pandemic is over. The spontaneous and probably correct answer would be “Yes”. Most probably, more elements of a typical arbitration that were based on physical presence will from now on occur contactless, i.e. in virtual reality. However, it is not only helpful but also necessary to identify which elements of international arbitration could easily take place in virtual reality and for which elements physical presence is and remains desirable or maybe even indispensable. In the end, COVID-19 will most probably speed up processes aimed at more efficiency that had already commenced prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, but will not change the core elements of international arbitration, i.e. the search for impartial and independent and—hopefully in most cases fair and just—decision-making in cross-border disputes through a voluntary and flexible process.
Keywords: African Arbitration Academy, American Arbitration Association-International Centre for Dispute Resolution, Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
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