Six leading law firms have collaborated to publish a protocol for online case management in international arbitration to promote a globally consistent approach.
Representatives from DLA Piper, Herbert Smith Freehills, Ashurst, CMS, Hogan Lovells and Latham & Watkins worked together on the protocol, which received positive feedback in a recent consultation.
The working group on legaltech adoption in international arbitration aims to facilitate efficient and secure document sharing, and improve arbitral participants’ ability to meet obligations relating to data handling and cyber security.
The protocol is also intended to help technology providers better understand the requirements of their users.
The group said the consultation found a desire on the part of respondents “to encourage the process efficiencies that end-to-end case management software can offer, in particular when adopted in the early stages of proceedings”, as well as recognition that a standardised approach should reduce the potential for technical mismatches and resulting information-sharing difficulties.
Maria Scott, senior associate at DLA Piper, said: “The positive feedback and engagement we received as part of the consultation process reflect the growing recognition of the importance of thoughtful and intuitive new technologies in international arbitration.”
Michael Taylor, an associate at Hogan Lovells, added: “Through the final version of the protocol, we intend to help shape discussions around the role of new technologies in the arbitration process. Securing a consistent approach to arbitral procedures and cybersecurity across the industry is vital.
“Looking ahead, we believe this will become even more topical in a post Covid-19 world, as we see growing disputes relating to the use of data, and as flexible working becomes more common.”
The group said the protocol, which has been in development since May 2019, was of universal application and designed to be flexible so as to be of assistance in all kinds of international arbitrations, regardless of jurisdiction, subject matter or applicable rules.
A joint statement from senior arbitration partners at the six firms added: “Projects of this nature demonstrate the international arbitration community’s desire to adapt and embrace new practices, and are a forceful means of shaping the future of arbitration.
“We all hope that the collaboration between our firms in the production of this protocol, to the benefit of the community as a whole, can be a blueprint for future co-operation in this area.”