Q&As

An in-person hearing is scheduled for my arbitration over the next few months. In light of coronavirus (COVID-19), what should I be thinking about, what alternatives may be available (eg relocation, postponement, virtual hearing(s)), what considerations are relevant when contemplating these options, and how would alternative approaches be dealt with procedurally with the other side and the tribunal?

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Published on LexisPSL on 21/03/2020

The following Arbitration Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • An in-person hearing is scheduled for my arbitration over the next few months. In light of coronavirus (COVID-19), what should I be thinking about, what alternatives may be available (eg relocation, postponement, virtual hearing(s)), what considerations are relevant when contemplating these options, and how would alternative approaches be dealt with procedurally with the other side and the tribunal?
  • Clare Ambrose, Twenty Essex
  • Partial hearing or no hearing
  • Hamish Lal, Akin Gump
  • Cecilia Xu Lindsey, 9 Stone Buildings

Clare Ambrose, Twenty Essex

We all know the crisis is fast-moving. Arrangements that seemed sensible a week ago now look unrealistic or inappropriate.

As matters stand there is some certainty that any hearing listed before the end of April 2020 will be significantly disrupted by global travel restrictions and guidance on social distancing.

Everyone concerned wants to reduce disruption but work safely. Tribunals will expect parties to co-operate, adapt and compromise in order to find solutions that work. My current experience is that most parties are doing this. Obstructive and tactical positions are likely to be fairly obvious and viewed unfavourably. The client will need to be briefed but constructive discussions need to be broached promptly with the other side with a view to seeing what measures can be taken. This is not just about the hearing, consideration should be given as to potential difficulties that may arise in preparing evidence, for example ensuring experts’ meetings can take place remotely. Preparing for a hearing is always stressful. Working in isolation and with restrictions on normal facilities (for example with school closures) will create more pressure for teams in meeting deadlines. Everyone will need to be sensitive to this. Parties should feel confident to approach the tribunal for guidance, directions or an indication of whether proposals are workable.

So, what are the options?

  1. relocation is unlikely to work in

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