Simon Sawert (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a German attorney-at-law (Rechtsanwalt) at Oppenhoff in Cologne, Germany. He has obtained an LL.M. degree in International Business Law from the Université libre de Bruxelles (Brussels, Belgium). Further, he is a doctoral candidate at the University of Düsseldorf where he does research on arbitration-related topics.
Arbitration, generally a flexible and efficient method of dispute resolution, might be faced with unexpected obstacles if the legal system supporting and reviewing an arbitration at the place of the arbitration is not functioning correctly. The COVID-19 global health crisis that we are experiencing nowadays, might be such a case. The shutdown of public life has not made an exception concerning the functioning of state courts. In fact, the interaction between state courts and arbitral proceedings may be hampered, thus leading to severe delays during an arbitration.
This article will analyze which implications parties and their counsel should think of during times of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when assessing which supportive or supervisory measures they may seek from the state’s judicial system in the course of an arbitration. This will be done by analyzing the situation in Germany. The article can, therefore, be regarded as an overview of certain aspects of arbitration in Germany. Additionally, the reader will be familiarized with the limited influence of state courts on arbitral proceedings in general because this can be regarded as a standard feature in most jurisdictions.