Given that the coronavirus pandemic is continuing at an unrelenting pace, social distancing measures will likely to remain in place for some time to come. Recent months have seen the emergence of a trend whereby increasingly more disputes, particularly those caused by non-fulfilment of contractual obligations, insolvency & unemployment, are being resolved through remote mediation. Interestingly the same phenomenon is observable in relation to the settling of international commercial disputes where remote mediation is quickly becoming the only viable option.
So, let’s see how international disputes can be effectively resolved during the period of social distancing.
Resolving Disputes Through Remote Mediation During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Courts are quickly adapting to the new reality by using the latest video conferencing technologies. However, not all disputes end up being settled in court. Therefore, mediation remains arguably the most cost-effective option for resolving international disputes.
There has been a sharp increase in the number of claims lately. This has resulted in soaring litigation costs & led individuals seeking to resolve commercial disputes through virtual mediation to seek different ways of cutting their litigation-related expenses. In particular, they’ve been increasingly using video conferencing software, such as Zoom & Microsoft Teams, to save on travel & accommodation-related costs.
Requirements for Initiating Remote Mediation
The process of settling a dispute through online mediation involves:
- inviting parties to join mediation by videoconference by sending them a link;
- placing each party in their own "virtual room";
- communicating with each party separately or simultaneously by switching between virtual rooms;
- connecting parties if they want to communicate;
- opening & displaying documents (if necessary).
Also, confidentiality must be maintained in the process of resolving commercial disputes by mediation. All participants must be audible and visible. There should be no interruptions during the process of communication (street sounds, family members, etc.). In the event of a malfunction, an alternative communication channel should be provided. It is also essential to take regular breaks to avoid the onset of the so-called "Zoom fatigue".
Mediation that takes place over the Internet has several distinct advantages over face-to-face mediation. Undoubtedly, those participating in the resolution of international disputes through online mediation are helping usher in a new era that will be continuing long after the coronavirus pandemic has become a thing of the past.
Virtual mediation isn’t something totally new & has been used in the settlement of international disputes for many years. Under the current circumstances, it is arguably the best option that parties can use while resolving commercial disputes.
Need an individual consultation on the resolution of international commercial disputes through virtual mediation? Looking for legal advice on the regulation of virtual mediation in the EU? IQ decision UK is at your service. Our legal advisors will be happy to lend you a helping hand with any legal issues you might be facing in this regard.