Hogan Lovells collaborates on industry first to accelerate tech adoption in international arbitration

London, 1 July 2020 – In the absence of universal guidance on the use of new technologies in international arbitration, Hogan Lovells has collaborated with five other law firms to develop a globally consistent approach to the use of online case management platforms. Our work with Herbert Smith Freehills, Ashurst, CMS, DLA Piper and Latham & Watkins comes as tribunals and institutions are increasingly focussing on cybersecurity and data protection in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The protocol is launching for wider public consultation this week, with the aim of releasing a post-consultation draft later in the year.

Hogan Lovells has been part of the collaborative working group, chaired by Herbert Smith Freehills, since June 2019. The protocol released today aims to identify ways to remove the confusions arbitral participants face about how they can practically – and cost effectively – meet obligations relating to data handling and cybersecurity. The joint approach comes as the use of technology and digitisation in arbitration is changing how dispute resolution practices operate. Arbitral tribunals are also giving greater focus to enhanced cybersecurity and data protection measures.

As the protocol will have global application, it is designed to be flexible and take into account all jurisdictions, covering commercial and investment arbitration, institutional and ad hoc arbitrations. It will act as guidance for parties to an arbitration, their lawyers, tribunal members and arbitral institutions. It will also aid technology developers and providers to tailor their solutions and ensure their products are well-suited.

Michael Taylor, associate at Hogan Lovells, commented: "We are delighted to participate in this initiative and to help shape discussions around the role of new technologies in the arbitration process. Dispute resolution is changing at a fast pace, and securing a consistent approach to arbitral procedures and cybersecurity across the industry is vital. This is particularly important now in light of the COVID-19 situation around the world and as flexible working becomes more common."

Earlier this year, Hogan Lovells released a Protocol for the use of technology in virtual international arbitration hearings, which provides general guidance on best practices for conducing virtual hearings. It includes calendaring and time zone considerations as well as best practices for witness examination.

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