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

See all articles by Stephan Wilske

Stephan Wilske

Heidelberg University; Leibniz Universität Hannover; German University for Administrative Sciences Speyer

Date Written: May 29, 2020

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Wilske, Stephan, The Impact of COVID-19 on International Arbitration—Hiccup or Turning Point? (May 29, 2020). Contemporary Asia Arbitration Journal, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 7-44, May 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3616660

Stephan Wilske (Contact Author)

Heidelberg University ( email )

Grabengasse 1
Heidelberg, 69117
Germany

Leibniz Universität Hannover ( email )

Welfengarten 1
D-30167 Hannover, 30167
Germany

German University for Administrative Sciences Speyer

Freiherr vom Stein Strasse 2
Freiherr vom Stein Strasse 2
Speyer, D-67346
Germany

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