International trade court plans internet arbitration

THE InternationaL Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration is investigating ways to set up an arbitration service over the

internet.

The ICC, the world business organisation which promotes international

trade and investment and runs the International Court of Arbitration (ICA),

aims to set up a web-based service catering for general disputes.

The ICA handles cases from more than 100 different countries and accepts

about 500 new cases each year.

ICA general counsel Fabien Gelinas, based in Paris, says no time schedule

has been set yet but the project is being researched and could be

established within two years.

Gelinas says: “The internet can be used to interview witnesses and

transfer copies of documents, and is suitable for the majority of cases

which don't turn on the authenticity of written evidence.

“Where there is a challenge to the authenticity of a document, it does

become more difficult to use the internet.

“An internet arbitration system will probably never completely replace

traditional arbitration methods, but it will be suitable for many cases and

will save people money.

“Most people are not yet ready to use [an internet arbitration system],

but people will be prepared to use it in, perhaps, two years time.”

Gelinas says the research is being carried out on a cross-departmental

basis and no formal committee has been appointed to take charge.

Once implemented, the ICA internet arbitration service is likely to be the

most extensive in scope and usage of all the on-line arbitration services.