Posted on: 5 May 2020
Quadrant Chambers and Maritime London partnered to deliver a webinar entitled: ‘How English Shipping Law has Responded to the Covid-19 Crisis’, moderated by Jos Standerwick, Maritime London Chief Executive.
Robert Thomas QC, from Quadrant Chambers, reported how the courts have adapted well to working remotely and the technical skills involved. “The Commercial and Admiralty Court has confirmed its commitment to serving the international business community and a willingness to embrace technology to achieve that goal”, he said.
However, he doubted that remote hearings would continue much after the pandemic abated, although he did envisage a greater willingness to accept video submissions.
Ian Gaunt, President of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA) agreed. “It is clear that in some ways the lessons learned in the current crisis will help [maritime dispute resolution] to find more efficient ways of handling hearings in future, not least in terms of document management and hearing evidence by videolink,” he said.
Mark Lloyd, Partner at Kennedys and Chairman of the Admiralty Solicitors Group (ASG), summed matters up. “The UK has not only shown itself to remain the leading shipping centre for resolution of disputes,” he said, “but has by its adoption of technology, remote hearing capability and the engagement of the service cluster, shown itself to be ready for the challenges that the “new normal” will bring post the immediate COVID-19.”