Virtual Dispute Resolution Proceedings in the New Normal: Its Evolution and a Review of Select International Texts

The events of the 1st quarter of 2020 have left an indelible message— “normal” has changed. We have a new world to deal with courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One area that has benefited from this rude shock to our daily routine is the technology that allows us to bridge space and time to connect. So, while everything else seems to be headed south, technologies that promote virtual or remote human interactions have taken a northward leap.

As Chris Herd observed, “remote work has accelerated 10 years in 10 days”[1]. This is a reference to the speed with which businesses have had to implement remote working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses have been forced to shut their brick-and-mortar outlets and resort to remote work in record time.

This article looks at the impact of this shift on dispute resolution proceedings with emphasis on videoconferencing in arbitration. How can we keep dispute resolution on track in a virtual world? What are the best practices for maintaining fairness and due process in virtual proceedings? We will briefly review some of the international texts that can help in the quest to take dispute resolution to the virtual plane.

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[1]     Chris Herd; accessed @https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/remote-work-has-accelerated-10-years-days-chris-herd/ on 14/04/2020.

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