In a sign of the times, the London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA) has revised its terms of procedure to now include the recognition of virtual and semi-virtual hearings.
Welcoming the move, Andrew Lee, Head of the firm’s Singapore office, said: “This is timely recognition of the way the business world has adapted to the Covid-19 travel restrictions and has embraced technology to enable work to carry on. The LMAA is sensible to embrace these new ways of working, which will no doubt continue post-pandemic, and to provide up-to-date rules and guidelines for the arbitration sector.”
In its revision, the LMAA said: “In the light of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions over the last 18 months, many arbitration hearings and proceedings had to be conducted virtually or part-virtually. Accordingly, these new rules and guidelines provide welcome clarity to the process as, moving forward, virtual or part-virtual hearings are likely to be far more commonplace. This is expected to be the case even when international travel resumes given the significant savings as to costs and time of conducting hearings virtually or part-virtually.”
The newly-published revised LMAA terms of procedure, which came into effect on May 1, 2021, provide updated guidance from the 2017 terms. Key amendments include:
The constitution and powers of the arbitral tribunal;
The recognition of virtual and semi-virtual hearings and the applicable procedures;
Guidance on the preparation and content of witness statements; and
The requirement for more detailed cost estimates in the LMAA Questionnaires.