Arbitration Tips-N-Tools (TNT): Round 21

In this round of Arbitration Tips-N-Tools, Professor Amy Schmitz asks some of the leading arbitration practitioners about making online arbitration (OArb) more personal for participants, especially in a digital world, and faced with the complexities of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Round 21: What advice do you have to make online arbitration (OArb) more personal for participants?


A) Olof Heggemann

When working in court, witnesses and others were many times intimated when “logging in” to a full courtroom even more attending remote. It is time-consuming, but introductions and presentations of the participants make digital hearings less stressful. It is of course time consuming to do these introductions (and very tiring for everyone in the courtroom hearing them all over again). One way around this could be sending witnesses and others attendants a short introduction on who they will meet when logging in. A good solution could also be to make sure the legal representatives brief witnesses on the procedure and attendants, beforehand.

B) Oladeji M. Tiamiyu

With less of your body shown, the visible part of your body becomes even more important for non-verbal communication in OArb. Be mindful of this and try to use the visible non-verbal cues in an engaging manner.

Cutting off participants during in-person arbitration is already awkward enough. The awkwardness is amplified to a whole new degree in OArb so try to limit this. In addition to being awkward, the minimum non-verbal communication in OArb can lead to participants over-analyzing an arbitrator cutting them off. This makes patience a critical asset to build rapport.

In online processes, there can be a temptation to make streamlining the process a primary aim. This should be resisted when trying to build rapport. Provide ample time for parties to fully explain the context and ensure that you, as the arbitrator, identify the nuances in the proceedings.

C) Myriam Seers

I think that having a first procedural meeting over a video conferencing platform is key, as is making sure that the parties themselves attend, rather than just their lawyers.


Olof Heggemann

I have a professional background from the Swedish public court system and experience from working in banking and law firms. The idea behind the founding of Eperoto is something that grew during my working years. Having a keen interest in technology I truly believe in the potential of new ways…


Oladeji Tiamiyu

Oladeji M. Tiamiyu is a Clinical Fellow at the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program. Prior to joining HNMCP, Oladeji was an Online Dispute Resolution Fellow with the Resolution Systems Institute in Chicago, Illinois where he helped in developing a pilot online dispute resolution program for family law disputes. Oladeji…


Myriam Seers

Myriam joined Savoie Laporte as a partner in 2021 after practising for 14 years in major Canadian business law firms. She specializes in investment treaty arbitration and international commercial arbitration, with a particular focus on disputes arising from the mining, electricity (including renewable energy), oil & gas and transportation sectors.…


Amy Schmitz

Professor Amy Schmitz is the John Deaver Drinko-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. From 2016-2021 Professor Schmitz was the Elwood L. Thomas Missouri Endowed Professor of Law at the University of Missouri School of Law and the Center for Dispute Resolution.…

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