Institution’s rules changes part of international arbitration’s embrace of technology, says lawyer — Law Times

Lauren Tomasich, Sarah Firestone

Feb 3, 2021

Revised International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) rules that came into effect on January 1, 2021, are “part of a shift toward technological adoption in international arbitration,” Osler partner Lauren Tomasich tells Law Times. In his article, author Aidan Macnab explores the current arbitration landscape and the new rule changes from the ICC, which is one of the leading international arbitration institutions. The article references an Osler Update by Lauren and litigation associate Sarah Firestone, titled “In the face of global change, international arbitration proves its flexibility,” which discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic helped accelerate this “step towards greater efficiency, flexibility and transparency.” Some of the changes include a provision on virtual hearings, and electronic submissions now being acceptable. Lauren, a partner in Osler’s Litigation Group and an expert in domestic and international arbitration, predicts this technological trend will only gain momentum moving forward. She also says that because many participants come from around the world, international arbitration already requires many case-management conferences to iron out procedural issues via telephone or video.

“So it already had the foundation in place to very quickly make a switch to a total virtual environment,” Lauren tells Law Times. “So now I think the fact that it's enshrined in certain institutional rules is very helpful.”

On the subject of ICC rule changes intended to enhance efficiency and flexibility in proceedings – including raising the upper limit for expedited procedure – Lauren says it’s a welcome change.

“I think it's phenomenal. And I think it's a real testament to what a lot of arbitration practitioners have said all along that arbitration is meant to be efficient and flexible,” Lauren says.

For more information, read author Aidan Macnab’s article, “Institution’s rules changes part of international arbitration’s embrace of technology, says lawyer,” in Law Times on February 3, 2021.