CAM-CCBC adapts activities to the Covid-19 pandemic scenario

 Electronic services allow the same quality as the on-site services

 By Sérgio Siscaro

Around the world, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the operation of several sectors – causing disruption to activities as diverse as education, public administration, security, and, of course, the activities of companies from all areas of the economy. In view of this scenario, CAM-CCBC understands that it should continue to provide its services, maintaining its normality – even if adapting its service to the current quarantine conditions, through the remote processing of arbitral proceedings.

The Center has long established protocols to enable its activities electronically. Two years ago, the Administrative Resolution 29/2018 already allowed the possibility of electronicaly processing in the administrative phase of the proceedings – that is, the one carried out between the submission of the request for arbitration until the formation of the Arbitral Tribunal – without the need for the parties’ and arbitrators’ submissions to be filed in person. Other measures established and put into practice in the second half of last year also contributed to the creation of a favorable environment for its activities to be conducted eletronically.

Initially conceived as ways to make CAM-CCBC’s proceedings more agile and efficient, these new means allow the Center to continue its activities normally during this period of uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. And, what is more important: preserving the health of the parties, lawyers, arbitrators, collaborators, and suppliers, and, at the same time, giving all the necessary support for the provision of a service based on the excellence of its proceedings administration standards.

The 5 points of attention

In a tight synthesis, five points implemented by CAM-CCBC in the organization of its activities because of the public health policies related to Covid-19 stand out. See below:

  1. On-site protocols: It was established that the parties would no longer need to go to CAM-CCBC’s headquarters to carry out on-site protocols of hard copies(petitions, documents, arbitration requests, etc.);
  2. Petitions and other documents sent by email and uploaded in a shared electronic folder: The on-site protocol was replaced with the electronic protocol. Thus, the Parties started presenting their submissions by email, and each arbitral proceeding has its own electronic folder, handled by the Case Manager responsible for processing the proceeding and intended for lawyers and arbitrators, so that they can perform the electronic protocol of the documents, safeguarding confidentiality when applicable;
  3. Submission of requests for the commencement of new proceedings by email: To initiate arbitral proceedings, the request protocol – which previously had to be filed in person at CAM-CCBC – must be sent by email to the Center’s General Secretariat ([email protected]);
  4. Hearings: CAM-CCBC recommends the use of the Microsoft Teams communication tool, which can gather virtually several people in the same meeting. It is also the tool proposed to hold witnesses testimonies by video conference, being a safe, multiplatform (can be accessed from different devices), and easily accessible option. Thus, any and all hearings (such as those for the execution of the Terms of Reference or those for taking of evidence) will be held using this tool or another similar tool chosen by the Parties.
  5. Institutional activities: All institutional activities were suspended (excluding those related to the Covid-19 itself, such as the publication of posts, organization of webinars, and remote customer service);