A new ADR service, which uses blockchain technology to improve case management, has been launched by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The London Chamber of Arbitration and Mediation (LCAM) aims to help businesses hit by the pandemic by offering a “cost-effective structure”, including fixed fees.
It currently has 23 arbitrators and mediators on its panel, including QCs Anneliese Day, Harry Matovu, Lyndsey de Mestre and Sue Prevezer.
LCAM said its blockchain technology, provided by tech company Finboot, would provide secure document management, case management communication and administration.
Farad Asghari, LCAM manager, said it was “the first time blockchain technology has been used in this capacity”, enabling LCAM to help firms in London and beyond settle disputes.
Juan Miguel Pérez, chief executive and co-founder of Finboot, said conversations with LCAM started in March: “Organisations around the world are accelerating their digital transformation programmes as a result of the impact of Covid 19 in order to enhance their operational efficiency, reliability and resiliency for the future.
“We believe blockchain has the power to transform all legal processes by delivering trust in their management and the way data is handled and stored, while driving efficiency and cost savings in both normal and remote operational environments.”
A spokesman for Finboot said its MARCO technology would optimise case management, ensuring documents were uploaded and stored securely, “accurately timestamped” and “made immutable”.
Using blockchain could also reduce costs by cutting the amount of administrative work, resulting in savings for clients.
Richard Burge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, commented: “For many businesses, this is the most unprecedented time in which they’ve had to operate. Covid 19 is testing, and will test, many aspects of the economy and existing business arrangements and contracts.
“Knowledge of dispute resolution services empowers a business, puts a business in control and provides a path to resolve disputes in a constructive and efficient way.”
Jonathan Wood, head of international arbitration at City firm RPC and chair of the board of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, is a board director of LCAM.
“Businesses can look to LCAM at any stage when considering how a dispute might be resolved, from drafting a contract to managing a dispute once it has arisen,” he said.
Other members of the LCAM board include Mishcon de Reya partner Claire Broadbelt, one-time chairman of the Bar Sir Peter Cresswell, and Kathryn Britten, managing partner of global consulting firm Alix Partners.