COVID-19 and Digitalisation of Dispute Resolution

Global Network

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About this event

The China International Business and Economic Law (CIBEL) Centre hosted the 2020 CIBEL Global Network Conference virtual panel sessions. The conference was dedicated to research on the urging issues in the international business and economic law field with the theme of “COVID-19 and international economic law: China and a changing world”.

The topic of this session was “COVID-19 and digitalisation of dispute resolution” and was led by CIBEL member Associate Professor Kun Fan. The 90-minute online session was live-streamed and open to registered audiences. The session was also made up of presentations and Q&As. Audiences were able to ask questions.


In addition to the serious implications for people’s health and public healthcare services, the COVID-19 pandemic also imposes challenges for the administration of justice.

The current crisis may lead to more demand for mediation, conciliation and other amicable methods of dispute resolution, the mixed mode dispute resolution, and online mediation. What roles do public and private stakeholders play towards promoting the wider acceptance of online mediation initiatives around the world? 

The COVID-19 pandemic is also exerting greater pressure for the arbitration community to find innovative ways to incorporate greater use of technology, through more use of online dispute resolution (ODR) or virtual hearings. How to best mitigate the effects of any impediments while ensuring the fairness and efficiency of arbitral proceedings? How do major arbitration institutions and arbitration practitioners react to the pandemic? 

Courts around the world are also adapting to find “remote” alternatives to traditional hearings to ensure ongoing access to justice. The Chinese internet courts and the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts are at the frontlines of the use of technology in court services, with increasing adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, DLT, blockchain and smart contracts in case management and adjudication processes. What can be learned from the experience of Chinese internet courts and DIFC Courts?  What will the most effective ODR process look like in the future?

Associate Professor Kun Fan’s recent opinion piece “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Administration of Justice” at Kluwer Arbitration Blog sets out the background for this panel discussion.

Associate Professor Kun Fan led a panel of eminent dispute resolution academics and practitioners around the world to discuss these issues mentioned above and their regional and global implications. She was joined by Assistant Professor Carrie Shang of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; Dr. Wenli Guo, Director of Beiming Software Co. Ltd; Dr. Tietie Zhang, Lecturer in Corporate and Commercial Law of the University of Sheffield School of Law;  Mr. Guillermo Garcia-Perrote, Senior Associate of Herbert Smith Freehills Sydney; Mr. Yuan Fang, JSD Candidate/Research Assistant of Washington University (co-author with Yan Wang, Case Manager of Beijing Arbitration Commission); Associate Professor Mimi Zou, Reader, University of Reading Law School /Co-found, Oxford Deep Tech Dispute Resolution Lab; and Ms. Amma Al Owais, Chief Registrar of DIFC Courts.