Arbitration, elastic or arthritic?

4 July 2017

Peter Rees QC, a member of Harbour’s Investment Committee, reflects on his early days as a lawyer when the advantages of arbitration over court proceedings were speed, flexibility, confidentiality, cost, enforceability, expertise and informality. These seven benefits were the promise of what arbitration would deliver.

Things have changed. Moving slowly, stiffness, lack of flexibility, difficulty with grasping things firmly, trouble in changing direction, altogether a painful experience; some of the things that users of arbitration and sufferers with arthritis have in common.

In this humorous but thought-provoking note, Peter touches on two areas where, if users, counsel and arbitrators would be willing to abandon their formulaic approach, adopt new ideas and be more elastic – it could result in saved time and cost. He explains why flexibility related to document disclosure and use of experts could be real game changers.

This article is based on the keynote speech delivered at a dinner organised by Harbour Litigation Funding for leading global firms in Hong Kong on 28th March 2017 and was exclusively published in the July 2017 edition of Asian Dispute Review.

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