COVID-19 and Arbitration Hearings

Last week I held a prehearing conference with counsel in a small international arbitration being administered under AAA domestic rules by agreement of the parties. We set a date for the hearing. I proposed setting the hearing down as an audio-visual hearing, with an option to change it to an in-person hearing if conditions warrant. Counsel for both parties favored an in-person hearing, but of course they understood the concern. So what we ended up with was the following: “The hearing will be held in-person. However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the parties have agreed that the arbitrator will have the discretion to direct that the hearing will be held by audio-visual means if in his judgment conditions warrant.” (more…)

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