Arbitral organisations respond to coronavirus (COVID-19)—ICC

Arbitral organisations respond to coronavirus (COVID-19)—ICC

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has announced that its Paris hearing centre has reopened for in-person hearings, subject to compliance with French regulations responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


The ICC has announced that the ICC Hearing Centre in Paris, home of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, hosted a two-day in person hearing in an ICC case on 25 June 2020, having been closed for external visitors since 16 March 2020.

The ICC reveals that in that first hearing, the arbitral tribunal, party representatives and court reporters were all physically present at the ICC Hearing Centre, and one party participated remotely using an IP-based video conferencing system, with full access to live transcription.

The ICC notes that a second hearing scheduled with the centre will be held in hybrid format (ie, a combination of physical hearing with virtual hearing). The arbitrators, one of the parties, and court reporters will be physically present at the centre in Paris while the other party will join virtually from an overseas location. A cloud-based video conferencing system has been selected as the platform of choice for this hearing, with a separate connection for live transcription and two cameras in use.

Providing an insight into its forthcoming business, the ICC states that the majority of hearings scheduled to take place via the centre in July will leverage technology to facilitate both fully digital and hybrid solutions for case hearings, with  options including a range of IP and cloud-based video conferencing platforms. The centre is available to provide assistance with platforms, which are generally used for hearings of no more than three days.

The ICC states that stringent hygiene measures on the premises have been reinforced to safeguard the health of visitors. These include the wide availability of protective face masks and disposable gloves, provision of antibacterial wipes and gel and restricting the number of visitors on the premises. Those due to attend the centre will be contacted in advance to be advised of the measures in place.

Alexander Fessas, Secretary General of the ICC Court, commented: 'ICC has dedicated the past three months of closure to further modernise the ICC Hearing Centre premises, enhancing hearing rooms with technology and equipment adaptable for in-person hearings, virtual or hybrid hearings, depending on the needs of our users.'

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