Technology Resources for Arbitration Practitioners - Virtual Arbitrations
Technology Tools to Support Virtual Arbitrations
The resources outlined here are available for planning and conducting virtual arbitration hearings. They are divided into three categories: (i) video-conferencing platforms, some of which offer features unique to hearing management; (ii) remote interpretation and translation services; and (iii) services provided by arbitral institutions for virtual hearings.
Virtual hearing platforms
Allows meeting attendees to share their screen and show/transfer videos, still images, and PowerPoint presentations.
BlueJeans has a breakout room tool, which allows attendees to split into smaller groups. The meeting moderator is able to create separate rooms and move participants in and out of them as needed. The host can call everyone back to the main meeting room; attendees in the breakout rooms are given ten seconds to conclude their discussion before returning.
Meetings can be recorded, including the video, audio and shared content. Meeting attendees can participate in text chat, or exchange private messages during the meeting.
BlueJeans offers a real-time translation service through Interprefy. Attendees choose their language of choice and interpreters will then translate the presentation as it progresses.
BlueJeans has three layout options: gallery view allows up to nine participants to be displayed at once; people view shows the active speaker on top, with up to five other participants (last ones speaking) viewed on the bottom; and speaker view shows the current speaker on the entire screen.
Endispute is a video conferencing platform offered by JAMS.
Users can enter virtual breakout rooms for private conversations with the mediator.
There is an online chat feature.
A feature is available during the session that enables any party to upload, download, and share documents.
Allows users to share their entire screen or a specific window. Users can share files and links that can be accessed by the other meeting attendees. The platform also offers a private text functionality and allows meeting organisers and participants to record video meetings.
Google Meet supports a grid view of up to 16 people. In spotlight mode, users can see the presentation, the active speaker, and any pinned feeds of other participants.
Allows meeting attendees to share their screens. Users have the option to share their entire screen or a sole document/presentation.
GoToMeeting has a record function, which captures the presenter’s screen and everyone’s audio. GoToMeeting meeting attendees are able to conduct private text chats.
GoToMeeting can show up to 25 participants on the screen at once. Users also have the option of viewing only the person speaking, those who are actively sharing a webcam, or displaying none of the other users.
Immediation is a virtual dispute resolution platform with a video conference tool. Users can upload documents to the platform, which can then be viewed by the other users.
It has a breakout room function. The mediator can place users in private breakout rooms.
Users can text-chat privately or publicly during the meeting. There is also a tool which allows parties to work together on settlement terms, which are instantly converted into a settlement agreement for e-signing via DocuSign.
Allows users to share their screen, an application, or a particular document. Users can also drag and drop files to share with other meeting attendees.
Legaler has an optional cloud recording of meeting sessions as well as a private chat feature.
Legaler has a breakout rooms feature designed for hosting virtual mediation and arbitration hearings.
Teams allows users to share their entire screen, a part of their screen, or just a program.
Teams can integrate with Kudo to offer a simultaneous interpretation service.
Teams users can record meetings to capture audio, video and screen sharing activity. Meeting attendees are able to have private text chats.
Teams can show up to nine meeting participants on the screen at once. When someone is sharing a presentation, users can switch between viewing that content and watching other participants by simply clicking on the video they are interested in. Users can also focus on and pin a particular participant’s feed, which will be viewed regardless of who’s talking.
*Note: Microsoft Teams replaces Skype for Business Online as Microsoft’s professional online meeting solution. At present, Teams and Skype for Business are both available. Microsoft is in the process of phasing out Skype for Business and the platform will go offline after 31 July 2021.
Offers a remote online hearing & deposition tool, together with an interpretation service.The service includes 24/7 support, including to ensure all parties are connected in advance of the start of the hearing. The service includes a chat function among the entire group, or private to specific users. The service also has a recording function. Allows users to share their screen, an application, or a particular document; a videographer can also be made available to show documents.
FTI Consulting provides virtual hearing support through its own speciality platform, TrialMax Cloud. In addition to providing a platform for conducting the hearing by video conference, this service also enables parties to review and manage exhibits on FTI’s secure online portal. FTI offers a technology professional’s assistance with managing the real-time display of evidence, video, and other media throughout the hearing, in addition to an optional court report for real-time transcription. Training is available for parties in preparation for the virtual hearing.
Trustpoint.one has a videoconference platform designed for conducting virtual dispute resolution events, including depositions, hearings, arbitrations, and mediations.
Users can electronically introduce, manage, and collaborate on digital exhibit files from within the platform.
Users can follow along with a court reporter’s real-time transcript, search for and highlight keywords, add personal notes, create reports, and export data.
VidyoCloud allows users to share content from any application or screen.
Subscribers to the Enterprise Plan can record meetings, with 10GB of recording storage per user included.
There is a group text chat for sharing links or asking questions.
Up to 16 participants can be viewed at once on a single screen. There is also an active speaker mode, which shows just the person who is talking.
Webex Meetings allows users to share individual files or documents, web browsers, multimedia viewers and players, or their entire screen.
Users can record a meeting. Once the meeting is over, an email is sent with an mp4 file of the meeting.
The presenter can specify chat privileges for participants. These privileges determine to whom participants can send chat messages.
Webex grid view allows users to see up to 25 participants at the same time. In active speaker view, whoever is speaking is shown in the primary video, and up to five thumbnail videos of other participants can also be shown. In floating view, the user has control of where to position the other participants in relation to the video panel.
Documents can be shown to a witness using the ‘share screen’ button; the examining party selects the specific document and shows it to the witness. Participants can also share their entire screen.
Zoom also offers a simultaneous interpretation feature, which will give the interpreters access to their own audio channels. Attendees can select an audio channel to hear their language of choice. Attendees will hear the translated audio and can choose if they want to hear the original audio at a lower volume.
Zoom has a breakout room feature, which allows users to split the meeting into 50 separate sessions. The meeting host can choose to split participants of the meeting into these separate sessions automatically or manually, and can switch between sessions at any time.
Zoom users are able to record the meeting video and audio. A participant’s ability to record can be disabled.
Zoom has an in-meeting text chat which allows users to send messages to each other within a meeting. Private messages between participants are not viewable by the host.
Gallery view in Zoom allows users display up to 49 participants in a single screen. There is also an active speaker view, which will switch the large video window between who is speaking. Mini window view allows users to minimise the Zoom video, but keep it on top of any other applications that are open on the computer.
Remote interpretation and/or translation
Interprefy can integrate with any online video conferencing software.
Participants can listen to real-time interpreting in the language of their choice through the Interprefy application.
Interprefy also has a standalone web conferencing service.
Kudo is a cloud-based interpretation service that can integrate with certain conferencing platforms, including Microsoft Teams. Users are free to select a language they want to listen or speak in. Teams users will have access to a roster of 1,300 Kudo certified interpreters.
Morningside offers video remote interpretation services. In addition to on-demand services available 24/7 on demand via webcam or a variety of videoconference tools, Morningside interpreters can also be scheduled in advance for an upcoming hearing.
TransPerfect’s video remote interpretation solutions are available with voice and video conferences, including qualified language interpreters. Solutions are device-independent, and connections can be made on any device with an internet connectio.
Arbitration Institution Services
The American Arbitration Association (AAA) and its international arm, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), can assist with alternative hearing arrangements, including the use of video teleconferencing such as Zoom or other platforms that will allow for remote participation in hearings. Online video, teleconferencing, internet communication and means other than in-person can facilitate a full and equal opportunity for all parties to present evidence in a hearing.
The AAA/ICDR has created guides and resources for parties and arbitrators to help create a smoother virtual hearing experience. This includes a virtual hearing guide for arbitrators and parties, as well as a virtual hearing guide for arbitrators and parties utilizing Zoom. Also, the AAA/ICDR provides a template order and procedures for virtual hearings via videoconference which the arbitrator(s) and the parties can modify to fit the specific needs of their case.
The AAA/ICDR does not provide their own video platform. Video hearings or proceedings are conducted through third party platforms. The use of such platforms for proceedings is subject to the platform’s terms and policies. The AAA does not endorse any one platform over another nor does the AAA/ICDR guarantee the suitability or availability of any platform.
The Dubai International Arbitration Center (DIAC) allows for hearings to be conducted via video conference. Communications and submissions can be filed electronically via DIAC's website and by e-mail.
Arbitration Place (Toronto, Canada) provides flexible virtual hearing services and maintains partnerships with international arbitral institutions such as ICC, LCIA, and ADRIC to assist parties around the world throughout the remote hearing process.
Arbitration Place conducts hearings securely on Zoom or other third party platforms, as required. Hybrid options are also available to accommodate proceedings involving on-site and virtual parties. In order to facilitate a smooth process, assigned Virtual Case Managers provide logistical support, technical support, virtual training, and document management services. Other services provided by Arbitration Place include transcription, arbitral secretarial services, worldwide equipment deployment for clients requiring necessary hardware, arbitrator and mediator rosters, court reporters, and translation.
The German Institute for Arbitration (DIS) has implemented certain digital procedural features in view of the Covid-19 outbreak. This includes filing of submissions electronically and carrying out the notification of arbitral awards in electronic form provided that all parties expressly agree to the same. In the absence of such an agreement by the parties, the DIS notifies an arbitral award in its original hard copy form, however, such original hard copies will not bear the signature of a Counsel of the Case Management Team and they may not necessarily be bound.
The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) has released a note on Service Continuity during Covid-19 which includes information on e-hearings and case management. HKIAC provides various e-hearing services, namely, video conferencing, audio conferencing, electronic bundles, electronic presentation of evidence, transcription- and interpretation. The IP-based video conferencing system can support up to eight different locations, and is compatible with all major videoconferencing platforms (Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams).
Documents may be delivered by e-mail or other electronic means pursuant to the applicable rules.
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has presented a guidance note outlining a range of measures to help mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The guidance note includes recommendations regarding virtual hearings and provide a checklist for a protocol on virtual hearings and suggested clauses for cyber-protocols and procedural orders. The ICC has also issued guidance in Appendix IV to the ICC Rules on conducting arbitration as well as in the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR reports.
Various videoconference platform options are available for virtual hearings under the ICC Rules. A third-party comparative table of available options can be found on their website. These range from customised hearing solutions offered by some hearing centres and/or service providers to licenced publicly available platforms to free-to-use public platforms. ICC has licensed access to the following videoconference platform options: Microsoft Teams, Vidyo and Skype for Business. Other platforms that have been used in recent cases include Zoom, BlueJeans and GoToMeeting.
The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has published a guide to online hearings which provides an introduction to ICSID’s online hearing services and technology.
ICSID offers a videoconferencing platform that does not require special hardware or software, thereby allowing participation from any location. A computer with an internet connection and webcam is sufficient for effective and secure participation. Where internet connectivity is poor, participants may join by telephone.
ICSID’s platform allows for hearings of any size—from a handful to hundreds of participants. All participants have the ability to share audio and video, as well as content such as PowerPoint presentations. A virtual chat function allows participants to communicate individually amongst each other or with the entire group. A virtual court stenographer provides a real-time transcript of the proceeding, visible to all participants on the video-conference.
ICSID’s online hearing services and technology are available in all ICSID cases at no extra charge, as well those conducted under UNCITRAL and other non-ICSID procedural rules. In pending cases with scheduled hearings, ICSID encourages parties and tribunals to discuss the options for online hearings in more detail with their ICSID Secretary.
The Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA) has not explicitly provided guidance or tools for the possibility to conduct virtual online hearings.
The London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) offers an online filing system for all requests for arbitration. The LCIA Rules allow a hearing to take place by video or telephone conference or in person (or a combination of all three).
The LCIA asks arbitral tribunals and parties to mitigate the effects of any impediments to the largest extent possible while ensuring the fairness and efficiency of arbitral proceedings. In doing so, arbitrators and parties are invited to use the full extent of the LCIA rules and any case management techniques that may permit arbitrations to substantially progress without undue delay despite such impediments.
The LCIA has recently released an update to the LCIA Arbitration Rules and LCIA Mediation Rules to take effect on 1 October 2020. Notable amendments in the Rules specifically include refinement and expansion of the provisions accommodating the use of virtual hearings, and confirming the primacy of electronic communication with the LCIA and in the arbitration, as well as confirming the facilitation of electronically signed awards.
The New York International Arbitration Centre (NYIAC) hosts remote hearings and hearing-related conferences through its Zoom platform. NYIAC provides assistance launching the hearing and provides additional assistance, such as technical troubleshooting and handling Zoom features, as required throughout the process. Rehearsal sessions are available prior to the remote hearing.
The Swiss Chambers' Arbitration Institution (SCAI) requests that applications for emergency relief, notices of arbitration and answers to the notice should be filed not only by post/courier, but from now on and until further notice, also by email. It will also proceed to notifications by email when necessary.
The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) offers its users an online platform - the SCC Platform - which provides participants with a secure and efficient way of communicating and filing all case materials in the arbitration, such as procedural orders, submissions and exhibits, and will constitute the forum through which the SCC communicates with the parties, counsel and arbitrators throughout the proceedings. The site also contains a calendar for relevant dates and deadlines and a notice board for the tribunal to communicate practical information to the parties as well as provides the tribunal with an archiving service after the arbitration has been terminated. Upon receipt of a request for arbitration, the case is allocated its own individual ‘site’ on the SCC platform to which the participants in the arbitration will be invited. Only participants in the arbitration will be provided access to the site.
In a joint initiative to support online administration of proceedings, the SCC and Thomson Reuters offer the SCC Platform to ad hoc arbitrations. Use of the platform is free of charge from start to finish for any ad hoc arbitration commenced during the Covid-19 outbreak. An arbitrator to an ad hoc arbitration may reach out to the SCC via firstname.lastname@example.org to get a site on the Ad Hoc Platform allocated to its case. Upon agreement between the SCC and the sole arbitrator/chairperson, the SCC will set up an individual site for the purpose of the ad hoc arbitration to which the participants in the arbitration will be invited.
Arbitral tribunals are encouraged to transfer the arbitration to a fully digital environment and use alternative means such as audio-and visual meeting facilities such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom to meet the previously established timetables during the Covid-19 pandemic. The SCC has also published on their website a link to the Delos checklist on holding arbitration and mediation hearings in times of Covid-19.
By default under the Delos Rules, arbitrations are commenced by e-mail and the Rules leave open the manner in which hearings may be held, thus accommodating remote hearings. Delos also published a checklist on holding hearings in times of Covid-19, and a compilation of materials related to remote / virtual hearings and launched through LONDAP an integrated hearing services offering addressing the full range of permutations and user needs: https://delosdr.org/index.php/londap
The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) directs users to Maxwell Chambers’ virtual alternative dispute resolution hearing platform, which allows parties to conduct hearings via its video-conferencing facilities and grants worldwide access to the arbitration materials on a secure cloud-based platform.