Agility and security in arbitration proceedings

CAM-CCBC’s General Secretary clarifies the use of electronic tools during the quarantine

 By Sérgio Siscaro

Technological solutions were promptly implemented by CAM-CCBC to ensure the continuity of its services during the quarantine period, given the Covid-19 pandemic.  However, despite the implementation in record time, the solutions were already being studied and carried out for at least two years. Thus, the arbitral proceedings are flowing with agility and security.

Patrícia Kobayashi, responsible for the CAM-CCBC General Secretariat, highlights the adaptations made to maintain the Center’s activities, the advantages of the new system, and the possible maintenance of electronic proceedings after the crisis. Following are excerpts from the interview:

CAM-CCBC has been putting these electronic solutions into practice since 2018. What was the Center’s motivation then for adopting these tools?

The importance of using digital platforms has grown in recent years, and in the context of the alternative dispute resolution methods it was no different. For some years, the CAM-CCBC Secretariat has been working on specially developed procedures, duly agreed by the parties and arbitrators, for exchanging information and notifications exclusively by electronic means, ensuring proper security and efficiency in the management of cases. In 2018, CAM-CCBC approved a procedure for exclusively electronic communication during the administrative phase of the arbitral proceedings, the one that precedes the formation of Arbitral Tribunals. Besides, it had already been conducting entirely remote hearings or with the participation of witnesses, lawyers, or arbitrators, by videoconference or conference call.

How was the process of providing the CAM-CCBC teams with the technical means so that, in this crisis, they can maintain normal service at a distance?

The escalation of Covid-19 cases in the country was very intense and we had to act quickly to guarantee the proper protection to our collaborators, as well as to the arbitral community as a whole. In just two days, the first Administrative Resolution on the matter was approved, Resolution 39/2020, informing all the adaptations that would be made in the provision of our services. The Information Technology (IT) sector has mastered this process, helping all our collaborators to understand how they would adapt to the new way of working. As for the digital tools and the necessary adjustments to the proceedings, CAM-CCBC’s experience ensured an orderly and safe transition, with minimal impact on the more than 300 ongoing cases at CAM-CCBC. All measures follow the best information security practices, guaranteeing to the parties an adequate virtual environment for the filing of submissions and for holding the hearings.

How can proceedings continue in cases where either party has problems accessing CAM-CCBC’s electronic tools?

All the tools used have been duly approved by the IT sector and were already widely used by CAM-CCBC. Thus, we rely not only on the experience of the case managers in handling the tools but also on the support of the IT team. Everyone is ready to assist the participants in the proceedings with any technological problems they may face.

Is there any contingency plan in case of problems in the remote management of proceedings – caused by overuse of the internet structure, for example?

The platforms adopted by CAM-CCBC were designed to support a much heavier flow of information than the flow currently managed by CAM-CCBC, precisely to enable the procedure not to suffer any impact due to technological failures. Anyway, in case of any difficulties, the teams responsible for the proceedings are ready to ensure the proper continuation of the cases. This is one of the great advantages of the proceedings management model proposed by CAM-CCBC: personalized service, with over 40 years of experience, and ready to solve all the proceedings’ complications.

How many proceedings have been performed this way?

In the administrative phase, since 2018 with the approval of the Administrative Resolution that addresses the issue, all proceedings are administered electronically, with rare exceptions. Currently, with the rule provided for in Administrative Resolution 40/2020, the processing of cases is 100% electronic – including after the formation of the Arbitral Tribunal.

After the current crisis, does CAM-CCBC study the maintenance of some of its services in the electronic version?

One of the greatest advantages of the alternative dispute resolution methods is their flexibility. Thus, given the efficiency resulting from the virtual management of cases, we expect to maintain the electronic proceedings in most cases.