The Qatar International Centre for Conciliation and Arbitration (Qicca) held a video conference seminar on Saturday on "Current Challenges for Arbitration", in co-operation with Qatar Lawyers and the College of Law at Qatar University.

During the conference, the participants affirmed that there are many global initiatives and endeavours calling for the endorsement of "cyber arbitration" as a tool for implementing social distancing initiatives adopted by the international community in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, Qatar Chamber said as many as 175 people followed the online seminar, which reviewed many topics related to the necessary procedures for implementing the cyber arbitration to ensure a successful arbitration process. It also touched on legal obstacles facing remote arbitration.

Speaking at the seminar, Qicca board member for International Relations Sheikh Dr Thani bin Ali al-Thani said the spread of Covid-19 has posed many challenges to arbitration and on all other legal systems in the world and arbitration centres.

He noted that arbitration institutions around the world are seeking solutions to continue arbitration process and to meet its challenges, such as non-attendance of parties, expert hearing and witness interrogation, as well as travel and travel restrictions for parties, arbitrators and others.

Sheikh Thani also noted that commercial arbitration, through the flexibility of its rules and procedures, and its adaption with circumstances and variables, “would be more qualified to cope with modern technological applications.”

He affirmed that the Qatar Arbitration Law, in some of its provisions, allows the use of technological means in the arbitration process, such as concluding the arbitration clause through electronic writing and filing of arbitration applications and exchange of notes and documents electronically.

Sheikh Thani stressed that Qicca had recently issued many arbitral awards in arbitration cases that had been finalised online.

“I expect that the coming period will see an increase in arbitration applications in all countries as a result of the insistence by some contractors on the existence of force majeure case or exceptional circumstances that make the implementation of commercial contracts impossible or cumbersome,” he said.

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