At the 7th Asia Pacific ADR Conference in Seoul earlier this month, the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB) unveiled its Draft Seoul Protocol on Video Conferencing in International Arbitration. The Draft Protocol is intended to serve as a guide for best practices for planning, testing and performing video conferencing for international arbitrations.
This development reflects that using video conferencing, an effective method of saving costs at hearings, has become much more accepted and accessible in recent years. It is also testimony to the KCAB’s push to be an efficient and cost-effective choice of arbitral institution that embraces innovation and technology.
While of course parties have always been free to agree a procedure in relation to the use of video conferencing, the Draft Protocol avoids the need for negotiations (that are potentially lengthy or incomplete) on the details by providing a comprehensive set of standards. The Draft Protocol contains, for example, provisions on:
- The venue of the witness examination – which should be a neutral location that provides a fair right of access to both parties, and have at least one on-call individual with adequate technical knowledge to assist with set up, testing and execution;
- Permitted observers – whereby only specific categories of individuals are permitted, and their identities are made known to all parties and the Tribunal prior to the conference;
- Managing documents during the course of evidence – providing that the witness should be provided with an unmarked bundle or that the parties may agree to use a shared server;
- Technical requirements – suggesting minimum transmission speeds and requirements on the sufficiency of microphones at each end of the video conference; and
- Testing and backup plan – requiring a test in advance of the hearing as well as immediately prior to the video conference, and also that a backup method is in place (that includes audio conferencing as a minimum).
For further information, please contact Mike McClure, Partner, Seoul.