COVID-19: Information and guidance in SCC arbitrations
Our thoughts go to those doing their best to protect the health of our communities and to help stop the spread of COVID-19 at this time. It is truly a challenging time for us all. Many parties and tribunals involved in SCC arbitrations have also turned to the SCC for information and guidance, and the SCC has therefore made the following information and guidance available. The information will be updated continuously.
In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, many parties and tribunals in SCC arbitrations have turned to the SCC for information and guidance. Against this background, the SCC Secretariat has made the following information and guidance available.
Parties and tribunals are also invited to contact the SCC Secretariat to share their practical experiences. This is a global situation that affects all of us, and collaboration and co-operation can go a long way in helping everyone navigate at a difficult time.
Should additional questions arise in addition to the topics listed below, please reach out to the SCC Secretariat.
And first and foremost - stay safe everyone.
There are no changes to the management of SCC arbitrations.
The case management is digitalized since 2013, why the daily operations are unaffected by the current outbreak of COVID-19. The SCC Secretariat has adapted to the situation by mainly working off-site and SCC Board meetings will take place as scheduled, online only. Additional measures have been taken to ensure a consistent case management should members of the staff fall ill. More information can be found here.
There are no changes in how to initiate an arbitration at the SCC:
- Requests for arbitration are filed to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Application for the appointment of an emergency arbitrator is made to email@example.com
From September 2019, all new SCC arbitrations are administered on the SCC Platform – a secure digital platform for communication and file sharing between the SCC, the parties and the tribunal.
The SCC Platform provides participants with a secure and efficient way of communicating and filing all case materials in the arbitration, such as procedural orders, submissions and exhibits, and constitutes the forum through which the SCC communicates with the parties, counsel and arbitrators throughout the proceedings.
SCC arbitrations initiated prior to September 2019
Participants in ongoing SCC arbitrations which were initiated prior to September 2019 may request the SCC to make a site available on the SCC Platform for the arbitration at this point. The parties or the arbitral tribunal in such arbitrations are invited to contact the SCC case administrator assigned to the arbitration for more information on how to make the transfer onto the SCC Platform.
Arbitral tribunals in SCC arbitrations
Considering the nature of international arbitration and the restrictions imposed by many countries on travel and in-person meetings due to the COVID-19 outbreak, arbitral tribunals are encouraged to use alternative means such as audio- and visual meeting facilities going forward. Examples of service providers which are known to have been used for this purpose are Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
Unless illness or other aspects of the arbitration otherwise prevents the case from continuing as planned, arbitral tribunals are expected to manage the proceedings in accordance with timetables previously established, or otherwise in accordance with Article 23 of the SCC Rules.
Any questions in this regard can be addressed to the SCC legal counsel administering the arbitration.
Parties in SCC arbitrations
Under the SCC Rules, parties are expected to act in an efficient and expeditious manner throughout the proceedings and act in the spirit of the rules in all matters not expressly provided for therein (Article 2, SCC Rules).
The COVID-19 outbreak has introduced some practical challenges for parties involved in SCC arbitrations. Parties are however expected to live up to their obligations under the SCC Rules and make efforts to keep to established timetables by, when necessary and deemed possible, for example transferring the arbitration to a fully digital environment, including using audio- and visual meeting facilities in the proceedings going forward.
In SCC arbitrations, each party’s contribution to the efficiency and expeditiousness of the arbitration may be assessed by the arbitral tribunal in apportioning the costs of the arbitration between the parties (Article 49 (6), SCC Rules).