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Ready for the new normal: International Arbitration Centre unveils new Covid-compliant disputes facility in London

The International Arbitration Centre (IAC), the purpose-built premier hearing venue situated near to the Royal Courts of Justice on Fleet Street, has opened a new Covid-compliant ‘super suite’ to cater for a projected increase in disputes heard at the centre as hearings roll over from 2020 into 2021 and beyond.

With the launch of a new super suite, the 25,000-sq ft IAC has added its most technically advanced facility yet, accommodating up to 100 people in total – if socially distanced – with up to 50 socially distanced attendees in its main hearing room.

Designed to meet stringent standards as to confidentiality, convenience, accessibility, and to cater for the largest and most complex business disputes in arbitration, the centre is designed to ensure have separate lifts, office facilities, rest rooms, and working space to operate in in line with the UK government’s Covid-19 guidelines.

The suite caters for the needs of all the leading arbitration institutions, as well as ad hoc arbitrations, and complies with the recently issued protocol on case management of international arbitrations, with dual interpretation booths, desks for tribunal secretaries, court reporters and secretariat support.

Technology is at the heart of the new facility, with presentation screens at each main desk offering a 34-inch sunken screen that projects evidence, transcripts and video conferencing. All of the IAC facilities integrate seamlessly with IAC Online, a recognised market-leading bespoke online arbitration platform.

Each party has direct access from the main hearing room to extensive breakout rooms, designed to operate as an extension of their respective law firms, which include everything needed to conduct an efficient and timely dispute.

As well as virtual hearings, each hearing suite at the IAC offers seamless semi-virtual, or hybrid solutions, while the new floor can accommodate multi-party disputes, with wall to wall natural light.

Every desk offers a line of sight to in-desk or overhead screens and 4 PTZ HD cameras that cover every seated position in the room offering a fully integrated, physical, virtual, or semi-virtual options.

CEO of the IAC, Owen Lawrence said: ‘We have continued to focus on the clients and making the hearing experience as calming, efficient and smooth as possible’.

He added: ‘Each party can be housed in a three-room conference suite, with video conferencing, copying and audio-visual facilities. Teams are able to work in rooms with direct access to the hearing room, whilst clients can watch the proceedings via a live stream in the breakout rooms.

‘Those who have seen the facilities have been very impressed; this new floor is a statement of intent in adding much-needed capacity to London’s dispute resolution facilities; it raises the bar in terms of facilities management for everyone involved in arbitration.’