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July 09, 2020

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Major Arbitral Institutions Update Guidance Regarding COVID-19

Since our last update, a little over a month ago, many major arbitral institutions have updated their guidance regarding COVID-19 in light of the continuing impact of the pandemic on ongoing proceedings.  Below we have included updated guidance from major arbitral institutions and expanded the chart to include a number of new institutions.  Thirteen major arbitral institutions[i] also issued a joint statement regarding “Arbitration and COVID-19.”[ii]  The statement encouraged parties and arbitrators to work together to mitigate the effects of COVID‑19 on proceedings while still ensuring fairness.

Arbitral Institution Guidance

Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration[iii]

  • The Australian Disputes Centre is closed for new bookings until May 18, 2020, but the ADC is accommodating existing bookings.

  • All visitors are required to complete a health and travel declaration.

  • New filings can be submitted via the ACICA’s E‑Filing System or via email to the ACICA Secretariat at secretariat@acica.org.au.[iv]

  • The ACICA website provides information about how parties should pay registration fees.[v]

  • The ADC website offers information on ADC Virtual, the ADC’s online dispute resolution platform.[vi]

German Arbitration Institute (DIS)[vii]

  • The DIS Berlin office is temporarily closed for an indefinite period of time.  The Bonn office remains open.

  • Requests for Arbitration should be sent to casemanagent@disarb.org or faxed to +49 (0) 228 391 815 222.

Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre[viii]

  • The HKIAC premises remains open and operational for hearings.

  • All guests are required to complete a Health Declaration Form confirming; 1) they have not traveled outside of Hong Kong for the past 14 days; 2) they are not living with someone who has traveled outside of Hong Kong for the past 14 days; 3) they have not, to their knowledge, been in direct contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19; and 4) they are asymptomatic.

  • All guests will also be temperature screened.

International Centre for Dispute Resolution[ix]

  • No hearings will take place in AAA-ICDR facilities until at least June 1, 2020.

  • Case management staff will contact parties and arbitrators to discuss alternative arrangements for hearings, including video and teleconferencing or postponements.

  • The ICDR strongly encourages filing arbitration and mediation cases online.

  • The website provides guidance for hearings taking place outside of AAA-ICDR facilities.  Case management staff will promptly coordinate calls to address concerns re offsite hearings.

International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes[x]

  • ICSID online hearing services and technology are available in all ICSID cases at no extra charge, as well as those conducted under other procedural rules.

  • ICSID encourages parties and tribunals to discuss options for online hearings with their ICSID Secretary.

  • Other questions can be directed to the hearings team at icsisdbookings@worldbank.org.

International Chamber of Commerce[xi]

  • The ICC has issued the ICC Guidance Note on Possible Measures Aimed at Mitigating the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

  • This document provides detailed guidance on possible ways to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on ICC arbitrations.

  • Parties may find the guidance re organizing and conducting virtual hearings, including a checklist for protocol on virtual hearings, most useful.

Japan Commercial Arbitration Association[xii]

Korean International Arbitration Board[xiii]

  • The Seoul International Dispute Resolution Center remains open and operational.

  • The Seoul IDRC provides Virtual Hearing Services as an alternative to in-person hearings, and more information can be found on the Seoul IDRC website.

  • Contact seoul@kcab.or.kr re questions about Virtual Hearing Services.

Singapore International Arbitration Centre[xiv]

  • The SIAC offices are closed, and all communications with SIAC should be through email.  Do not send physical copies of documents to the office.

  • Questions re case administration should be directed to casemanagement@siac.org.sg.  Notices of arbitration and applications for emergency interim relief should also be filed at this address.[xv]

  • All questions re an existing case should be directed to the relevant SIAC Case Counsel.

  • Other questions should be directed to corpcomms@siac.org.sg.

  • For time sensitive matters call +65 6713 9777 or email casemanagement@siac.org.sg.

  • SIAC will only accept payments via electronic bank transfer.[xvi]

Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce[xvii]

  • Participants in SCC arbitrations that were initiated prior to September 2019 may request that the SCC make the SCC platform available to them.  The SCC platform allows communication and file sharing between the SCC, parties, and the tribunal.

  • The SCC made several statements re the duties of the parties and the tribunal to make efforts to uphold the established timetables:

  •  “Unless illness or other aspects of the arbitration otherwise prevents the case from continuing as planned, arbitral tribunals are expected to manage the proceedings in accordance with timetables previously established, or otherwise in accordance with Article 23 of the SCC Rules.”

  • “Parties are however expected to live up to their obligations under the SCC Rules and make efforts to keep to established timetables by, when necessary and deemed possible, for example transferring the arbitration to a fully digital environment . . . .”

Vienna International Arbitral Centre[xviii]

  • VIAC encourages all parties to submit all written submissions electronically.

  • For questions re VIAC operations during COVID-19 contact office@viac.eu.

Check out Sheppard Mullin’s Coronavirus Insights Portal which now aggregates the firm’s various COVID-19 blog posts on a broad range of topics.


FOOTNOTES

[i] Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (“CRCICA”), German Arbitration Institute (“DIS”), International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”), International Centre for Dispute Resolution (“ICDR”), International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (“ICSID”), Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (“KCAB”), London Court of International Arbitration (“LCIA”), Milan Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (“HKIAC”); Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (“SCC”), Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”), Vienna International Arbitral Centre (“VIAC”); International Federation of Commercial Arbitration Institutions (“IFCAI”)

[ii] Arbitration and COVID-19, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (April 16, 2020), https://www.hkiac.org/sites/default/files/ck_filebrowser/PDF/News/Covid-19%20Joint%20Statement.pdf.

[iii] COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Precautionary Protocol, Australian Disputes Centre (April 3, 2020), https://www.disputescentre.com.au/covid-19-coronavirus-precautionary-protocol/.

[iv] Important Information for ACICA Users—COVID-19 Update, Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration, https://acica.org.au/important-information-for-acica-users/.

[v] Id.

[vi] ADC Virtual, Australian Disputes Centre, https://www.disputescentre.com.au/adc-virtual/.

[vii] Update: COVID-19, DIS (2020), http://www.disarb.org/en/.

[viii] Precautionary Measures at HKIAC in Response to COVID-19, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (March 26, 2020), https://www.hkiac.org/our-services/Facilities.

[ix] COVID-19 Update, International Centre for Dispute Resolution (April 20, 2020), https://go.adr.org/covid19.html.

[x] A Brief Guide to Online Hearings at ICSID, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (March 23, 2020), https://icsid.worldbank.org/en/Pages/News.aspx?CID=362.

[xi] ICC Guidance Note on Possible Measures Aimed at Mitigating the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, International Chamber of Commerce (April 9, 2020), https://iccwbo.org/content/uploads/sites/3/2020/04/guidance-note-possible-measures-mitigating-effects-covid-19-english.pdf.

[xii] Arbitration and Mediation Services Following a State of Emergency Declared by the Government of Japan, Japan Commercial Arbitration Association, https://www.jcaa.or.jp/en/news/?mode=show&seq=49.

[xiii] Seoul IDRC Virtual Hearing Services, Seoul International Dispute Resolution Center (April 23, 2020), http://www.sidrc.org/bbs/board.php?bo_table=news_en&wr_id=862.

[xiv] Enhanced COVID-19 Measures at SIAC, Singapore International Arbitration Centre (April 6, 2020), https://www.siac.org.sg/images/stories/press_release/2020/[ANNOUNCEMENT]%20ENHANCED%20COVID-19%20MEASURES%20AT%20SIAC.pdf.

[xv] COVID-19: SIAC Case Management Update, Singapore International Arbitration Centre, https://www.siac.org.sg/images/stories/press_release/2020/ANNOUNCEMENT%20COVID-19%20SIAC%20Case%20Management%20Update.pdf.

[xvi] Id.

[xvii] Covid-19: Information and Guidance in SCC Arbitrations, Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (March 27, 2020), https://sccinstitute.com/about-the-scc/news/2020/covid-19-information-and-guidance-in-scc-arbitrations/.

[xviii] Availability and General Measures Undertaken by VIAC in Times of COVID-19, Vienna International Arbitral Centre, https://www.viac.eu/en/news/availability-and-general-measures-undertaken-by-viac-in-times-of-covid-19.

Copyright © 2020, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 120

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About this Author

Nail Popović, Business Trial Legal Specialist, Sheppard Mullin"
Partner

Mr. Popovic is a partner in the Business Trial Practice Group in the firm's San Francisco office and is Chair of the International Arbitration Practice.

Areas of Practice

Mr. Popovic’s litigation experience includes a wide range of commercial disputes, including consumer class actions, white collar criminal matters (including internal investigations) and international dispute resolution (including international arbitration and litigation) and counseling. Mr. Popovic has developed expertise in legal issues related to environmental marketing, as well as federal...

415.774.3156
Jacqueline Simonovich
Associate

Jacqueline M. Simonovich is an associate in the Business Trial Practice Group and a member of the firm’s International Arbitration Team in the firm's San Francisco office.

Areas of Practice

Jacqueline’s practice focuses on international commercial arbitration and complex civil litigation. She has litigated matters before international arbitration forums, including the ICDR and the ICC.

During law school, Jacqueline served as a publishing editor for the Berkeley Journal of International Law. She also participated in Berkeley Law’s Death Penalty Clinic and wrote major portions of a Motion to Preclude Death Qualification, a practice that unfairly biases jurors against the defendant.

415.774.2974