Year-on-year, ICSID has seen a steady uptick in its number of online hearings. In fact, last year about 60 per cent of the 200 hearings and sessions organized by ICSID were held by video-conference.
The unprecedented disruptions to travel caused by Covid-19 have spurred further interest in online hearings. This note provides an initial introduction to ICSID’s online hearing services and technology.
At the core of an online hearing is the ability for all participants to join remotely. ICSID’s video-conferencing platform does not require special hardware or software, thereby allowing participation from any location. A computer with an internet connection and webcam is sufficient for effective and secure participation. Where internet connectivity is poor, participants may also join by telephone.
ICSID’s platform allows for hearings of any size—from a handful to hundreds of participants. All participants have the ability to share audio and video, as well as content such as PowerPoint presentations. A virtual chat function allows participants to communicate individually amongst each other or with the entire group.
A virtual court stenographer provides a real-time transcript of the proceeding, visible to all participants on the video-conference.
ICSID invests the same level of planning and support in its online hearings as it does with those held in person. The ICSID hearings team works with the tribunal and parties to ensure everyone is comfortable with the technology and able to perform their role with confidence. Dedicated IT professionals are present throughout the hearing to ensure it runs smoothly.
ICSID’s online hearing services and technology are available in all ICSID cases at no extra charge, as well those conducted under UNCITRAL and other non-ICSID procedural rules. In pending cases with scheduled hearings, we encourage parties and tribunals to discuss the options for online hearings in more detail with their ICSID Secretary. For all other queries, please contact our hearings team at [email protected].