In this round of Arbitration Tips-N-Tools, Professor Amy Schmitz asks some of the leading arbitration practitioners about making online arbitration (OArb) more widely available, especially in light of tech disparities, all the more in a digital world, and faced with the complexities of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Round 25: What advice do you have for arbitrators and attorneys in making online arbitration (OArb) more widely available, especially in light of tech disparities – list your top 3?
A) Olof Heggemann –
Technical risks always exist with online arbitration. But with traditional hearings, there are other risks, such as illness or issues with travel that can cause even more problems.
Showing the cost reduction, efficiency in the proceedings, and reduced travel should convince many of the benefits of online arbitration.
Perhaps having a hybrid would be a good introduction. Sometimes that real meeting is important. Many times meeting face to face is valuable – but planning for many tiring days in court or conference room is probably a very expensive and ineffective way to bring parties together.
B) Oladeji M. Tiamiyu –
There is beauty in simplicity. Identify what the more popular and accessible technologies are, and use those.
Become a master of the craft. “The craft” isn’t exclusively the law anymore.
Being knowledgeable about how the technology works and providing tech support to the participants will increase their comfort with OArb.
Support government initiatives that increase investments in technology infrastructure so the digital divide is reduced in the future.
C) Myriam Seers –
Arbitration is a consensual process, and the likelihood of consenting to it often decreases once the dispute has arisen. Therefore, to make OArb more widely available, contracts between parties should include arbitration clauses that provide for it.
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