Q&As

In light of coronavirus (COVID-19), is arbitration preferable over litigation as a method of dispute resolution given the increased flexibility inherent in arbitration proceedings generally?

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Published on LexisPSL on 23/03/2020

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

  • In light of coronavirus (COVID-19), is arbitration preferable over litigation as a method of dispute resolution given the increased flexibility inherent in arbitration proceedings generally?
  • Clare Ambrose, Twenty Essex
  • Hamish Lal, Akin Gump
  • Cecilia Xu Lindsey, 9 Stone Buildings

In light of coronavirus (COVID-19), is arbitration preferable over litigation as a method of dispute resolution given the increased flexibility inherent in arbitration proceedings generally?

Clare Ambrose, Twenty Essex

This is a ‘once in a generation’ challenge. We will see over the next months how the court system and the arbitration community respond. Arbitration is more flexible, and it is already common for directions to be made electronically, CMCs to be heard by telephone and disputes to be resolved by documents only. It is hoped that arbitration will be agile to meet the needs of parties. If so, and virtual hearings (or even partially virtual hearings) start to work well, then they will become an attractive feature. Corporations weathering this crisis will be mindful of resilience for the next one. Arbitration will be attractive if it is seen to work in times of crisis. If it becomes cheaper and more sustainable too then that must be a bonus.

Hamish Lal, Akin Gump

The tangible and significant impacts of coronavirus further support the notion that arbitration is preferable over litigation as a method of dispute resolution given the increased flexibility inherent in arbitration proceedings. The ability for the parties to consensually amend the Procedure and the Procedural Timetable should not be under-estimated. The parties can agree to drop certain steps (for example, document production) if a sorter process is

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