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International arbitration has proved resilience in difficult times

Speed and quality are the core of the operations of international arbitration, and these attributes have become even more valuable during the ongoing global crisis. A continued dialogue in the arbitration community and joint efforts to outline new best practices and more driven arbitrators are now needed – that was some of the conclusions during a recent Fab Four online discussion.

Due to the pandemic, the world economy is on hold and many markets are more or less frozen. Quick commercial dispute resolutions are more important than ever to be able to uphold global trade and commerce. Several strengths of the international arbitration system, including the way we collaborate and adapt to new situations, have been demonstrated during these very difficult months otherwise overshadowed by the economic and societal effects of the ongoing global pandemic.

This ability to deliver speed and quality is essential in international arbitration at all times, and has become even more valuable during the crisis. In a Fab Four seminar on November 4th Stefano Azzali, Secretary General at CAM, Francesca Mazza, Secretary General at DIS, Alice Fremuth-Wolf , Secretary General at VIAC and Annette Magnusson, Secretary General at the SCC (moderated by Franz Schwarz, Vice-President at VIAC) discussed the challenges we face in maintaining the same quality in our operations during the exceptional circumstances that the Covid-19 pandemic entails.

- Justice delayed is justice denied. We really need to continue with our proceedings and will need firm arbitrators who are really up to the case and don’t allow delaying tactics or any other issues to mingle with the proceedings. The inherent power to conduct proceedings at their discretion in an efficient and cost-effective manner has always been there, and now it’s the time where it really has to be exercised, says Alice Fremuth Wolf.

The speakers also clearly emphasized how valuable the communication and dialogue between the arbitration institutes and practitioners have been in this situation.

- Institutions started reaching out to one another and checking how things were going very early. We started comparing notes and trying to establish a good best practice in this new situation. That demonstrated the strength of international arbitration, says Annette Magnusson.

- The institutions needed to be out there and take leadership on the questions we were receiving from parties, tribunals, and from counsel on what to do in certain specific situations in their cases. It has been crucial to be available, to engage in discussions on how the rules could be used in this specific situation, and how cases could be moving forward.

Find a recording from the Fab Four Webex seminar here

 

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