Fast adaptation of the procedures administered by the Center to the digital environment guaranteed the normality of services during the period
By Sérgio Siscaro
The rapid global spread of the new Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus, which caused Covid-19, has led to the imposition of quarantine regimes and restrictions on the movement of people around the world. Several sectors were affected, with direct impacts on their performance and financial results throughout the first half of the year. However, even in the face of this challenging scenario, CAM-CCBC managed to keep its services and observed an increase in the number of cases during the period.
Between January and June, 48 arbitrations were initiated at CAM-CCBC – which is equivalent to a 9% increase over the same period in 2019. The total amount in dispute was R$ 4 billion, with an average value of R$ 84.3 million.
As for the characteristics of the parties, 14% of the cases involved multiple parties, 2% involved Brazilian Public Administration entities, and 13% were foreign parties.
The nature of disputes that predominated in the arbitration proceedings initiated in the first half of 2020 were: corporate matters (31% of the total), followed by business contracts (19%) and topics involving the sectors of civil construction and energy (15%) and sales of goods and/or services (15%).
In the opinion of CAM-CCBC’s Advisory Board President, Adriana Braghetta, the positive results observed in the first half of this year reflect the quality of the services offered by the Center. “CAM-CCBC has done an excellent job in the administration of arbitration proceedings. The increase that is felt today is the result of the insertion of arbitration clauses in recent years, electing CAM-CCBC to administer the procedures – which is due to the reputation acquired over the years and the leading position in the market. It is also possible that the increase is already the result of the crisis arising from Covid-19: in times of crisis, it is normal to increase litigation”, she says.
According to the results of the first half of the year, the Public Administration continues to use arbitration. “With the increase in the use of arbitration clauses by the Public Administration entities, the expected scenario for the coming years is an increase in cases. In recent numbers published by CAM-CCBC, in 2019, 41 ongoing cases involved Public Administration, which is quite significant.”
For the President of the Board, CAM-CCBC was a pioneer in drafting a specific resolution for arbitration proceedings involving the Public Administration, and the interest of its entities in the use of the method would be a direct result of this initiative.
Arbitration and Covid-19
According to Braghetta, the spread of the pandemic led CAM-CCBC to adopt a series of adaptations in order to meet the needs of the parties, arbitrators, lawyers and all other participants in the procedures under its management. “The current administration, led by President Eleonora Coelho, was very efficient in issuing guidelines for conducting procedures and virtual hearings, among others. In a matter of days, CAM-CCBC had already created virtual platforms for all its procedures, and the case managers were already prepared to assist lawyers and arbitrators with the new tools. The Center responded very quickly to the needs [brought about by the pandemic] and gave peace of mind so that the arbitrations could continue smoothly,” she says.
The persistence of the current health crisis is expected to continue impacting society until the end of this year – and perhaps until 2021. In view of this situation, CAM-CCBC is already prepared to continue acting in an agile and efficient manner. “We are all learning a new way of working. I believe that the ‘new normal’ of arbitration will be the virtual procedure, without the need for physical protocols, and the increasingly comprehensive use of virtual hearings”, points out Braghetta.
She adds that the upward trend in the number of cases is expected to repeat in the second half of 2020. “In times of crisis, the numbers of cases increase; I believe that this will be the trend for the second half. And, in my opinion, the arbitration funding market should also grow”, she concludes.