Given how rapidly the tech sector is growing, accelerated digital transformation and innovation will continue to impact the ADR landscape in years to come. New product areas, like cryptocurrency, blockchain and AI will result in new types of commercial disputes. Not to mention increased government action to regulate big tech companies, which will likely result in an increasing number of tech-related investor-State disputes. VIAC wants to be fit for the future. It is vital for our growth to gather the expertise and knowledge of thought leaders in the sector to steer the institution in the right direction in order to understand how we can provide the best, cutting edge service.
In order to do this, VIAC officially kicked off its Legal Tech Think Tank (LTTT) on 25 October 2022 bringing together arbitration practitioners from a myriad of jurisdictions, skilled in multiple fields of technology disputes to consider how arbitration can get closer to the tech industry and make its’ offering more tech-fit. Our members include Michel Leclerc, Aija Lejniece, Matthias Lehmann, Eliane Fischer, Duarte Henriques, Ema Vidak Gojkovic, Sean McCarthy, Sophie Nappert, David Tebel, Maud Piers and Dominik Loidl, supported by VIAC’s secretariat team: VIAC’s Secretary General, Niamh Leinwather, Ema Potočnik, Jessica Puhr and Vladyslava Donchyk, as well as by VIAC’s President Nikolaus Pitkowitz.
During the first interactive brainstorming session our LTTT’s members defined the main goals and plans for the immediate future. One of the first steps to be taken is identifying the specific types of tech disputes that are potentially relevant for VIAC. Technology is a broad and comprehensive term and each of its branches, whether startups, blockchain or crypto trading require particular attention. Therefore, it is imperative to develop an individual approach to clients coming from different tech fields. In doing so, VIAC intends to take up this conversation with the tech companies themselves to get an overview of their needs and requirements in order to facilitate the best mutual collaboration possible. The compilation of a Europe based tech-list is also key. VIAC intends to a list of tech experts to assist our clients in finding arbitrators with sufficient tech knowledge and experience, who will be able to manage a tech-related dispute in the most efficient and effective manner possible. Finally, one of our more ambitious goals is to consider to what extent the Vienna Rules will be amended to facilitate tech disputes, either in the form of a special expedited procedure or an individual set of rules. This will have the greatest impact on the conduct of the proceedings in a faster and more efficient manner.
These are some of the focus points of our LTTT for now but we have even more ambitious plans for the future, so stay tuned!