“For years, commercial disputes have become increasingly more complex, yet all the while the business community is becoming more vocal in calling for assistance in keeping time and costs down. What if there was a way you could just have it settled and get on with it?” Read SCC Acting Secretary General Kristin Campbell-Wilson chronicle, including a cliff-hanger.
A few days ago, my four-year-old’s preschool teacher told me there had been a scuffle between my son and his best friend. They had been playing happily outside when suddenly they came to a disagreement as to whether the pile of buckets they had organized was in the shape of a plane or a dragon. The argument got so heated that the best friend kicked my son in the shins. My son retaliated by biting his friend in the arm. Hard. They both cried, but then apologized to each other and three minutes later continued playing happily together for the remainder of the day.
This was refreshing to hear. A good resolution and no time and no money spent at all (if only commercial dispute resolution was that simple).
During the past year the coronavirus has triggered a sharp rise in the number of commercial disputes globally. In 2020, the SCC recorded its second highest number of cases ever, second to 2009 which followed the financial crisis in 2008. The driving force behind this surge in numbers seems clear. There is not enough time (or money) to spend on the multiple exchanges of briefs between counsel (before finally coming to a decision to bite). Time is of the essence. Time is money. Time can be the difference between a successful venture, or the closing down of a business. However, it also takes time to resolve these disputes.
The benefits of arbitration and mediation as alternative forms of dispute resolution are usually held to be time and cost efficiency when compared to national court proceedings. For years, commercial disputes have become increasingly more complex, yet all the while the business community is becoming more vocal in calling for assistance in keeping time and costs down. Rules have been tweaked, digital management tools have been put in place, but it still takes a lot more time that than the three minutes it took my son and his friend to resolve their issue.
Everyone knows how energy draining it is to argue, how much better it is – and feels - to use the time, energy and resources for something productive instead, to innovate, to create, to collaborate.
What if there was a quicker way?
What if there was a way to save on both time and costs?
What if there was a way you could just have it settled and get on with it?
What if there was a way…
The good news is that there is a way…
…and we will tell you more about it in May.
Kristin Campbell-Wilson Acting Secretary General
EU is proposing regulations on AI
The European Commission is proposing the first ever legal framework on the use of artificial intelligence, aimed at promoting the development of AI and addressing the potential high risks it poses to safety and fundamental rights. “A highly relevant approach by the EU. Now, it´s important that the arbitration industry does not fall behind when it comes to leveraging the power of AI”, says SCC Head of Business Development, Lise Alm.
The European Commission has proposed a first-ever legal framework on AI and a new Coordinated Plan with Member States, it includes both initiatives to promote AI, and the legal framework intended to guarantee the safety and fundamental rights of people and business, while strengthening AI uptake, investment and innovation across the EU.
In the legal industry, AI is increasingly being used for tasks like research and translating and there is now also AI tools being developed specifically for the use of selecting experts, counsels and arbitrators and even for predicting outcome in cases. As there are so many possible applications for AI technology in arbitration, the SCC closely follow technological progress, current debates, political initiatives and the development of international legislation. Our Business Development Manager Lise Alm participates in several other working groups on these issues, for example within UNCITRAL.
– The European Commission proposal seems like a highly relevant approach, these areas are extremely important that we get right. I wonder, however, how high the barrier will be to create solutions in legal tech and especially for arbitration or the judiciary? With all the regular hoops you have to jump through to get your products out there, this will certainly add complexity and cost. It's important that the arbitration industry does not fall behind when it comes to leveraging the power of AI, says Lise Alm.
She summarizes the proposal as follows:
The framework follows a risk-based approach where AI systems are rated unacceptable, high, limited or minimal risk. While most applications are believed to be minimal risk, two examples of high-risk areas are extra relevant for arbitration.
Law enforcement that may interfere with people's fundamental rights (e.g., evaluation of the reliability of evidence).
Administration of justice and democratic processes (e.g. applying the law to a concrete set of facts).
High-risk systems will be subject to strict obligations before they can be put on the market, including:
Sharing knowledge through dialogue: A Report from the first SCC East-West Forum event
We had a great response to our invitation to the very first SCC East-West Forum with focus on Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Caucasus. Over 220 arbitration experts registered for the event, and a total of nine eminent speakers and panelists shared interesting facts, news and reflections about arbitration in the region. For those of you who missed out, a recording of the event is now available.
Held online on 27 April 2017, the webinar explored arbitral laws and practices in five post-Soviet countries: Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The common denominator for parties from these countries, is the tradition to resolve their trade and investment disputes in Stockholm.
The event opened with an exciting keynote on the art of persuasion in international arbitration, delivered by Dmitri Evseev, who gave valuable insights into oral advocacy during an arbitral hearing. As an overall advice, he quoted Michelangelo: “The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there; I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.”
The attention-getting opener was followed by a lively panel discussion on particularities of arbitration laws and practices in the focus countries, Ruslan Mirzayev, Olena Perepelynska, Valikhan Shaikenov, Nick Gvinadze, Maxim Kulkov debated the recent developments and specific arbitral news from their home jurisdictions. Under the moderatorship of Ginta Ahrel, the panellists discussed a number of questions, ranging from the arbitrability and local requirements for the arbitration agreement to enforcement of foreign awards.
A live interview on the exciting career topic with Patricia Shaughnessy, conducted by Roman Zykov, wrapped up the event.
“Be authentic, be genuine. Be genuinely interested and curious about learning new things and meeting new people”, is a tip from Patricia for arbitrators seeking to increase their international visibility.