Disputes which are subject to arbitration can be resolved remotely, but this requires procedures that meet due process and ensure secure digital solutions. Photo: Aleksandr Davydov / Mostphotos

In arbitration, disputes are resolved by arbitrators selected by the parties in a private proceeding rather than the dispute being resolved by a national court. Agreements to arbitrate disputes is a common feature in business contracts because it provides faster and less expensive dispute resolution and offers privacy. The pandemic has increased interest for companies to use arbitration to resolve disputes as the pandemic has caused many courts to have long backlogs and planned hearings may have been postponed, particularly for commercial cases. Parties may agree to transfer their dispute to arbitration where the proceedings may take place remotely through the use of telephone and video technology, without delays.

Kluwer Law International has just published a highly relevant book,” International Arbitration and the COVID-19 Revolution,” which is of interest to both academics and practitioners in the field of arbitration. The 17 chapters in the book highlight specific legal issues raised during the pandemic and consider how the pandemic will affect arbitration in the future. Patricia Shaughnessy, docent in procedural law at Stockholm University, contributed to the book with a chapter on ”Initiating and Administering Arbitration Remotely”.


Highlights the benefits of digitalization

The book: International Arbitration and the COVID-19 Revolution

Patricia Shaughnessy’s chapter highlights the benefits of digitalization which enabled the rapid responses to the Covid-10 situation, based upon a study of approximately twenty leading arbitration institutions. The chapter specifically addresses how arbitral institutions managed the initiation and administration of new and on-going arbitral proceedings remotely when the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly disrupted business both for the institutions, the parties, their counsel and the arbitrators. It also considers how this experience and digitalization will affect how arbitrations are administered and conducted in the future as a result of the impact of the pandemic.

Patricia addresses a currently highly relevant issue, which will not only be of interest for lawyers, arbitrators, arbitral institutes, and parties considering or engaged in arbitration, but also for those who are interested in the digitalization and integration of technology into dispute resolution.


Expert with competence

Patricia Shaughnessy. Photo: Staffan Westerlund / Stockholm university

There is no doubt that Patricia is the right person to author an article on international arbitration law and proceedings in a remote context. She has a long academic career in this field where she has taught and researched in arbitration. She also has gained practice experience as a lawyer, an arbitrator, and an expert. As a Board member of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) for 12 years, she gained insights in the administration of arbitration. Her experience enabled her to understand the issues that the pandemic created for international arbitration.

In early October, Patricia was appointed as a new international Board member to the Georgian International Arbitration Center (GIAC), which is the first non-profit arbitration institution in Georgia. She is also the co-chair of the newly launched “Task Force on Tech Companies, Tech Disputes and International Arbitration” in collaboration with the Silicon Valley Arbitration and Mediation Center (SVAMC). The Task Force, led by Paul Cohen, Duarte Henriques and Patricia Shaughnessy, will research the apparent underrepresentation of the global tech industry in international arbitration.