UiPath, a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) enterprise software company, and Bucharest International Arbitration Court (BIAC) have launched what is said to be the world’s fully automated institutional mediation process for the conclusion of arbitration agreements.
Bringing critical support during the global crisis, but also well beyond, the innovation allows organisations to conclude arbitration agreements remotely while supporting business continuity for companies in need of arbitration services, as well as for arbitral centres, which can expand their activities, as national courts operate under crisis-induced restrictions.
The innovation will enable the adoption of arbitration at scale in a transparent, predictable, and standardised manner. The software robot sArb – Simplified Arbitration Reference Facility was developed by UiPath for the Bucharest International Arbitration Court (BIAC) and designed together with commercial law and dispute resolution firm Consortium Law.
sArb facilitates a rules-based, predictable, and fully transparent agreement process. After the proposer lodges a unilateral, conditional offer for the conclusion of an arbitration agreement, via an end-to-end automated process the software robot extracts the relevant data of the parties involved and generates the Arbitration Agreement. Next, it gathers the parties’ consent via DocuSign, in a fully electronic, secure and reliable manner.
At the same time, it provides key info on BIAC and the sArb process to the counterparty by automatically sending out an e-mail. Should the counterparty agree to the proposal and sign within the stated timeline, the robot informs all parties via e-mail that the agreement has been reached and the process is marked as complete. If no response is obtained within the specified deadline, no agreement ensues, and the process is voided.
The introduction of the fully automated institutionalised mediation process will help businesses everywhere benefit from the elimination of the unnecessary frictions that can arise from the direct negotiation of amendments to ongoing contracts or that of a new agreement altogether. By acting as the third-party mediator, BIAC promotes trust and facilitates the adoption of arbitration.
The digital mediation process offers companies affected by the mobility restrictions enforced due to the COVID-19 health crisis a robust and easy to use remote tool that promotes savings, in terms of time and money. However, their benefits are set to be long-lasting. The move helps streamline the process and eliminates complicated steps from arbitral agreements, with the effect that managers and in-house lawyers can operate without requiring specialised, external input.
With this innovation, BIAC can facilitate the adoption of arbitration by parties involved in ongoing agreements to solve potential disputes in the future. By playing a role in the relationship between the parties before any disputes emerge, BIAC can support the increase of the adoption rate of its Rules of Arbitration. In ongoing contracts, this prevents leaving potential disputes to be adjudicated in the regular courts, which will most likely become extremely backlogged with time-consuming litigation arising from the current global crisis.
Moreover, software robots such as sArb enable arbitral centres to offer mediation services at scale, and at a cost that is not supported by a traditional process involving the mailing of correspondence by regular post. That is why BIAC expects to make significant savings every year.
Adrian Iordache, member of BIAC Administrative Council and project leader, says: “Historically, arbitration courts have acted as competitive alternatives to national courts due to their flexibility and ability to adapt fast to disruption. With national courts everywhere struggling to find solutions to avoid being overwhelmed when resuming activity after the COVID-19 crisis will allow it, introducing a mediated digital and remote process for arbitral agreements is bound to give a much-needed support to many businesses.
“When creating sArb, we wanted it to be completely suited for automation from the get-go. In doing so, we met our objective to allow companies to access the benefits of arbitration easily, in a way that best serves them,” he adds.
Vasile Tiple, UiPath deputy general counsel, comments: “UiPath has already brought forth innovations in the field of legal automation, so we welcomed the opportunity to support the development of a pioneering project. We were happy to find in BIAC an innovation-driven partner with an ‘automation first’ mindset and joined the project with the goal to help facilitate access to arbitration for businesses everywhere.”
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