APPRAISING REMOTE ARBITRATIONS ARISING FROM THE PANDEMIC: REALITY CHECK AND THOUGHTS ON KEEPING ARBITRATION GOING
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The COVID-19 pandemic is a life-changing calamity that has affected many spheres of our lives including the arbitral industry. When seized by the pandemic, we turned to technology for refuge. With the onset of the pandemic, technology for arbitration was propelled to the forefront when its adoption was lethargic previously. Referred to as virtual or remote arbitration, it is a tool that simplifies, through automation, processes that were previously arduous to undertake and, in some instances, impossible. Given the cross-border nature of international arbitration proceedings, the digital setup has been crucial in keeping arbitration going. However, with the pandemic, the international arbitral community seems to have become both willing and unwilling test subjects of technology and product applications on an unprecedented global scale. There are potential issues that have arisen with the growth of digitizing arbitration.
This article will review the current state of affairs relating to the conduct of virtual arbitration since the start of the pandemic by analysing key empirical evidence from leading organisations. It will also examine the topic of due process in arbitration, which has attracted intense discussion in recent times. This discourse hopes to provide some indications as to the road ahead for the international arbitral community.