As of April 2021, the severe disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic (the ‘pandemic’) continues. While the pandemic disruption has extended for far longer than initially expected, courts (after the first wave), arbitral institutions and stakeholders in commercial dispute resolution have largely continued operations, increasingly supported by innovative digital technology, flexible scheduling and flexible cost structures, among other tools. Auto-transcription, blockchain, document management and automated docketing, inferential artificial intelligence, natural language processing and visual perception tools (including facial recognition technologies, radar, light detection and ranging, and ultra-sound sensors) are among the digital technologies being used.
A paradigm shift in commercial dispute resolution globally is underway, arising from the combined effect of innovative digital technology and the pandemic. The pandemic’s impact upon commercial dispute resolution in each of the 23 jurisdictions reviewed has been affected by the rate, period and severity of infection, but also by their respective openness to innovation; capacity to rapidly adapt; available financial, technological and human resources; legal framework; and culture. Online proceedings in international commercial dispute resolution encourage the adoption of international best practices. However, there is a growing divergence in the resources available to commercial dispute resolution stakeholders that needs to be addressed to ensure a fair, efficient and trusted international commercial dispute resolution system.
This is the second Dispute Resolution International (DRI) article about the global impact of the pandemic on commercial dispute resolution; the first was published in the October 2020 issue of the journal. This article reviews an additional eight jurisdictions, provides updates for 11 jurisdictions reviewed in the October 2020 article and discusses emerging trends. Forty-six arbitration and litigation practitioners from 23 jurisdictions in Africa, the Asia-Pacific, Europe and the United Kingdom, Middle East North Africa and Turkey (MENAT), North America and South America have contributed to these two articles.
Read this article online