IBA Annual Conference Miami 2022

30 Oct - 4 Nov 2022

Room 209, Level 2

Session information

Remote dispute resolution – a success?
Room 209, Level 2
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Dispute Resolution Section (Lead)
Arbitration Committee
Class Actions Committee
Litigation Committee
Mediation Committee
Negligence and Damages Committee


The Covid-19 pandemic brought an intense period of enforced temporary changes to the way we resolve disputes and administer justice. The transition to innovative virtual – remote and online – courts hearings, arbitral and mediation sessions, is both thrilling and concerning. Whether the transition and changes made should be reversed or not, leads to some fundamental questions. It is all about the right balance in protecting both the rights and interests of parties and the public while using technological opportunities which can improve (reform) practices of the court, arbitral tribunals and mediators and assessing improvements in access to and lowering the costs of justice – after all, we should never waste a good crisis.  

This joint session aims to map the landscape of the Covid-19 online transition, exploring lessons learned; what has worked, and what has not, promises and best practices for maintaining juridical quality, legitimacy, and efficiency. Initially it seemed the principles to open justice, which remain paramount, were threatened. Yet benefiting from the tech development of wide-spread open-access live streaming, proceedings suddenly became far more accessible than before – just an example: the UK Supreme Court’s livestream of important Brexit litigation was reportedly viewed by almost 30 million people. How reporting restrictions and protected evidence coexist with online open justice is yet to be seen. While saving time and money, relieving parties and their legal teams from the need to travel and time to be called to a hearing, the physical experience of an online hearing is significantly different from being inside a courtroom or before an arbitral tribunal. Could the lack of ritualistic aspects of a formal hearing and feelings of distance, foster distrust rather than belief in the legitimacy of the authority of the court or tribunal? What is the effect of depersonalizing the dispute resolution process, especially non-verbal cues like body language and eye contact (even when web cameras are employed)? May parties feel that they have not been fully heard? Can the required level of trust, for fruitful mediation, be achieved online? How are judges able to properly ascertain the credibility of a witness online? Although virtual hearings suggest that they tend to be more focused than hearings in person, could ‘zoom-fatigue’ be detrimental to the quality of decision-making of judges, lawyers and parties? Just to name a few challenges, which will undoubtedly lead to a lively debate and exploration of best practices in remote dispute resolution.

Session / Workshop Chair(s)

Mary Walker Barrister, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; Member, Mediation Committee Advisory Board


Frederick Acomb Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone, Detroit, Michigan, USA; Co-Chair, Litigation Committee
Valeria Galindez Galindez Arb, São Paulo, Brazil; Co-Chair, Arbitration Committee
Robert Johnston Johnson Winter & Slattery, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; Chair, Class Actions Committee