International arbitration in 10 years seen by 2 corporate lawyers

As a dynamic moderator, Dr. Felix Dörfelt, associate lawyer in one of the German offices of Addleshaw Goddard LLP, who always advises his clients to take the time to consider the possible outcomes and the cost/benefit balance of having recourse to arbitration rather than other methods of dispute resolution, gave the floor to a colleague who has worked in large companies for many years.

According to these two speakers, the global pandemic and technological developments have brought sweeping changes to the practice of international arbitration. Their particular perspective offers a fine deciphering of the evolution of this material.

• What will be the main future developments?

The panellists anticipate three major developments: a evolution of the types of disputes settled in arbitration with more financial and investment disputes ; the development of software dedicated to the arbitration process and online arbitration ; Iemergence of new processes supported by digital technologiesin the provision of evidence and expertise in particular.

They are, in fact, strong trends on the creation of tools to determine the automation of dispute resolution and their financial estimation with a better assessment of the cost/benefit ratio for resorting to arbitration rather than a simple transaction or mediation. They are also considering the use of a collaborative work platform in order to share arbitration documents more easily.

Furthermore, they estimate that there will be a better information and more transparency on this conflict resolution process, which will show its effectiveness, in particular for quickly settling the many disputes arising from the economic impact of the pandemic.

• How will this affect the way arbitrations are conducted?

There will be more and more online arbitration, performed only digitally. However, the human factor will remain at the heart of the procedure, and digital tools can be used to analyze the behavior of the parties, like a lie detector or movement study.

Moreover, corporate lawyers and their teams will be more involved in the process and will not make everything rest on their external advice, sometimes too interested in winning the dispute or worse, in their costs.

• Will companies use more or less arbitration clauses?

Certainly morebut it depends on the sectors of activity and the knowledge of the companies in the matter because arbitration remains an expensive and complex process.

In addition, legal teams will increasingly use predictive justice and automation of the law, which will facilitate the resolution of disputes and the preparation of arbitration briefings. Stakeholders believe that this will speed up arbitration.

• How will disputes be resolved in the future?

There will surely be more diversity in international arbitration with new referee and party profileshowever this is not certain because this matter remains a niche sector and very costly expertise concerning complex international commercial contracts.

Moreover, thanks to digitization, perhaps certain disputes between American and European companies could be settled by a Chinese or Indian arbitrator who is an expert in the disputed subject such as IT or engineering. Technology will surely make it possible to cross borders and go to less and less expensive experts.

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