From 1st May 2021, the new LMAA Terms and Procedures take effect. LMAA Arbitration remains the most popular dispute resolution method in shipping and any LMAA Arbitration commenced from 1st May shall be subject to these new Terms.
Notable changes introduced by the LMAA 2021 Terms include:
Provisions for virtual hearings (as a result of COVID 19 lockdown experiences). The new Sixth Schedule sets out helpful and practical guidelines for the conduct of virtual hearings, including how EPE ‘electronic presentation of evidence’ should be handled. We expect virtual hearings to continue (in some form) even after COVID 19, so that this introduction is a welcome step by the LMAA.
Tribunals can now sign Awards electronically, which can speed things up where Arbitrators are in different countries.
There are new rules for witness statements – mainly reflecting new English Court rules to ‘de-weaponise’ witness statements as tools used by lawyers to advance legal arguments, rather than just the witness’s own account of what happened in his/her own words. It remains to be seen if this change makes any difference to the use of witness statements?
It is now quicker to appoint a Sole Arbitrator where a Respondent fails to appoint its Arbitrator in time.
At the LMAA Questionnaire stage, more party costs information has to be provided.
The new LMAA 2021 Terms can be viewed at LMAA Terms 2021