However, adaptation is not possible without the flexibility to achieve it. And flexibility is the hallmark of dispute resolution through arbitration. By contrast, courts are innately conservative and inflexible, with byzantine procedural rules and outdated traditions.
With the leading offshore financial centres (OFCs) promoting themselves as international arbitration centres, the Covid-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to showcase the advantages of arbitration as a form of dispute resolution.
The response of offshore courts to the pandemic varied between the various jurisdictions but in all cases were effectively shut down for several weeks, in some cases months, with only the most urgent applications being accommodated. Consistent with the traditional hierarchy, local bars were kept up-to-date with directives telling them what could and could not be done.