9 April 2020
The ICC International Court of Arbitration has released a Guidance Note outlining a range of measures to help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on arbitral proceedings.
The Guidance Note provides support to parties, counsel and arbitral tribunals in ICC Arbitrations on the challenges currently faced in ensuring fair, timely and efficient resolution of disputes. It was prepared by a working group comprising Vice-President of the ICC Court Marnix Leijten (Working Group Chair), ICC Court President Alexis Mourre and other Vice-Presidents, members of the ICC Governing Body for Dispute Resolution Services and the Secretariat of the ICC Court.
Mr Mourre said: “In these exceptional times, it is of great importance that, parties and arbitrators get together to revisit our established practices in order to ensure the continued efficiency and fairness of ICC Arbitration. I would like to thank our working party for preparing the detailed and balanced guidance that we are releasing today.”
The Guidance Note highlights factors relevant in assessing ways to mitigate COVID-19- related delays in the context of the ICC Arbitration Rules, including guidance on the possibility to organise virtual hearings. Two annexes of the Note provide a checklist for a protocol on virtual hearings and suggested clauses for cyber-protocols and procedural orders dealing with their organisation.
Secretary General of the Court Alexander G. Fessas said: “ICC has been quick to respond to the global emergency that is the COVID-19 pandemic. It is our hope that the Guidance Note, released by the ICC Court today, will assist parties, counsel and arbitrators in tackling possible procedural and administrative disruptions in the context of efficient and fair arbitral proceedings.”