The courts are showing commendable flexibility in adjusting to the COVID-19 restrictions. The use of video technology is certainly helping to keep the wheels of justice turning.
But there will undoubtedly be delays and frustrations in the coming months.
It is worth reminding those involved in business disputes that there is an alternative that may be particularly suited to the current environment.
Arbitration (and expert determination) offers a flexible, binding business dispute resolution process, which can be made to meet the parties’ requirements and that of their cases.
As well as providing privacy and confidentiality, arbitration allows the parties to:
- Choose their dispute resolver, who may be a qualified and experienced arbitrator and possess a relevant professional background. If they can’t agree on a candidate, they may choose to invite a professional body acting as an appointing authority to make the appointment. For example this may include the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, or the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, which could appoint a member of its arbitration panel with the required professional expertise and experience.
- Design the arbitral process with the arbitrator, including dealing with disclosure, and whether it will be a ‘documents-only’ process or will require a hearing with witnesses.
- Arrange with the arbitrator how (and this may be by video or telephone conference call), where and when any procedural conferences, and hearings on the substantive issues, are to take place.
Whilst not all cases may be suitable for arbitration, given the current environment it is worth bearing in mind that this alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process does exist, and may be cheaper, quicker and more flexible than court litigation.
For further information, please contact Daniel Djanogly FCA FCIArb CArb MAE QDR.
Daniel Djanogly is M&A Arbitrator and Forensic Accounting Partner at CVR Global. He is a skilled and experienced Chartered Arbitrator, expert determiner and forensic accountant expert witness. He specialises in M&A, shareholder, partnership and other complex business disputes.
Please note, in view of the neutrality of the role of Arbitrator or Expert Determiner, all correspondence will be on a disclosable basis.