What the Recommendation contains
The Recommendation aims to reproduce the conditions under which face-to-face hearings are held to the extent allowed by videoconferencing platforms.
To ensure that no party is unduly disadvantaged by the holding of virtual hearings, the Recommendation provides conditions that must be met before deciding to hold a virtual hearing.
To avoid technical issues during the actual hearing and to ensure that the time for the actual hearing will be used efficiently, the Recommendation also suggests pre-hearing preparations for parties and arbitral tribunals. These include prior agreement on the videoconferencing platform and participants to the virtual hearing, preparing hearing bundles, and holding test runs.
General proposals for the conduct of the virtual hearing are also listed in the Recommendation to ensure proper decorum by all parties during the proceedings. These include requiring that all participants be present by audio and video, muting all communication devices, and displaying the items on the participants’ desks at all times.
The security risks involved in parties being in different locations and having multiple access points pose more significant challenges in ensuring the confidentiality of the proceedings and upholding the integrity of the arbitration. To this end, the Recommendation suggests minimum logistical, technological, and security requirements, as well as other measures to protect the confidentiality of the arbitral proceedings and to prevent the coaching of witnesses.
Use of the Recommendation
Parties and arbitral tribunals may adopt the Recommendation in their arbitrations or parties may propose them to the arbitral tribunal. The logistical, technical, and security requirements for holding a virtual hearing may be modified to suit the particular needs and circumstances of the parties.
While the Recommendation is intended for use in virtual hearings for the taking of evidence in arbitration, it can be similarly applied to virtual hearings in court litigation.
You may download the publication here.
*Authored by Quisumbing Torres, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International, a Swiss Verein. Please contact QTInfoDesk@quisumbingtorres.com for inquiries.