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Boom and Bust? Users’ Views on the Post-pandemic Potential of Remote Hearings in International Arbitration

Ryce Lee & Allison Goh

[2021] SAL Prac 23

The widespread use of remote hearings in international arbitration is of recent vintage and evolved out of necessity to respond to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite initial misgivings, remote hearings have now become well entrenched in international arbitration practice, but will they continue to be popular even after the pandemic as in-person hearings return? This article focuses on the findings of a recent empirical study on the views of international arbitration users (external counsel, in-house counsel and party representatives) in relation to this question. Overall, users appear enthusiastic about future applications for (fully or semi-) remote hearings, especially in low-value disputes, so long as they are able to reap the potential time and costs savings while managing the new logistical, due process and cybersecurity challenges presented by this format.