In today’s globalised society, advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have led to the increased automation of activities across a range of fields. The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators recently hosted its annual DAS Convention, which explored the risks and opportunities associated with technology and alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The common theme emerging from the conference was whether people would be replaced by technology, echoing the fact that technology is redefining the ways in which labour is needed. While it is likely that some jobs will be automated, not every single task can be performed by means of AI. In any event, the main takeaway is that technology, now more than ever, is playing a key role in the world of ADR. As more parties and practitioners embrace technology in resolving their disputes, they must also be aware of the risks and opportunities that such technology provides.

This article will look at the impact of technology on key aspects of arbitral proceedings, exploring whether the current legislative framework is suitable for such disputes by reference to the New York Convention 1958, the UNCITRAL Model Law and the English Arbitration Act 1996.

Arbitration agreements

Arbitration agreements are often concluded in an electronic form, departing from the traditional paper version signed by the participating parties. It is often the case that the arbitration agreement would include a declaration, via email or web, followed by a declaration by conduct. This seems to raise issues under the New York Convention, which was established before the internet became so prominent. In this sense, arbitration agreements may only be valid if the ‘written requirement’ is satisfied.

Jan-Mar 2018 issue

The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators