In rapidly changing circumstances, look to arbitration for flexible interim relief

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing commercial relationships to change abruptly and drastically. Rapid developments such as supply chain disruptions and counterparty insolvency risk can leave parties in need of rapid interim relief. Parties to arbitration agreements have a variety of options available to them. The types of interim relief available in arbitration, and the standards for obtaining such relief, can in many cases be more flexible and readily available than what a party may be able to obtain in domestic court proceedings. Moreover, most arbitration rules provide mechanisms for emergency arbitration, thus allowing parties to arbitration agreements, but who are not already engaged in arbitration, to seek interim relief on an expedited basis.

This alert outlines the kinds of interim relief that may be available in arbitration, and identifies the process for seeking relief from emergency arbitrators under major institutional rules.

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