Quadrant Chambers offers checklist for keeping arbitration proceedings “on the road”

Simon Rainey QC and Gaurav Sharma of Quadrant Chambers have proposed 10 easy rules for keeping the current international arbitration diary “on the road as much as possible”.

Quadrant noted that the Covid-19 pandemic had placed “enormous challenges on every aspect of life”. Arbitration hearings, which almost always consisted of a mixture of parties, representatives, witnesses and tribunal members attending from far and wide and with complex dovetailed ‘availability’ issues, faced particular challenges, both from national lockdowns and the disappearance of international (and much domestic) travel.

The chambers said that it was understandable that an initial and immediate reaction would be for many parties and tribunals simply to adjourn hearings fixed in the likely affected period. However, Quadrant warned that “we are now in for the long haul, and arbitration hearings (unlike sporting events, music festivals, walking with friends or going to the pub) are in fact very well placed to adapt and ‘carry on’:.

The 10 rules for keeping the current international arbitration diary on the road (covered in detail at the link below) as much as possible are:

  1. Adjournment should now be the last resort.
  2. Arbitration embraces tools and technology: let’s build on what we already do well.
  3. More realism, please, about ‘seeing the witness’ (etc.)
  4. Using the existing wide procedural powers firmly and creatively
  5. Remember: many useful ‘video-protocols’ are already out there.
  6. Embrace technology as your friend (a.k.a. ‘Use Zoom’)
  7. Electronic hearing bundles really do work.
  8. A new Tribunal Secretary: the Technical Assistant?
  9. Flexibility, flexibility, and more flexibility, in timetabling and everything else…
  10. … including how we handle new disputes in our brave new world.