On January 29-30, 2018, the ICC held its 4th International Arbitration Conference in Panama, an important international business and financial hub. Some 150-200 attorneys, government officials and arbitrators from Central, South & North America and Europe took part in this PANARB-2018 Conference which was organized into four main panel sessions. The Conference was conducted primarily in Spanish and organized by ICC Latin America Director Katherine Gonzalez-Arrocha who is also a member of the SVAMC’s new Latin America Interest Group.

It was an honor for the SVAMC to be invited to speak on the panel about Use of Technology in Arbitration Proceedings, part of several cooperative arrangements between the SVAMC and the ICC. This panel was moderated by Lillia Liu, a Panamanian lawyer, MBA and engineer and included Erik Schäfer of the Cohausz & Florack law firm, Düsseldorf, Germany, Paul Eric Mason of the SVAMC, and Raquel Ballesteros of Bird & Bird in Madrid.

Erik Schäfer who worked for many years as ICC counsel, opened the panel session with an overview of key technology issues for the ICC as reflected in its March 2017 Commission Report “Information Technology in International Arbitration”. These key issues were broken down into four categories: (1) Agreeing to use IT”; (2) Issues during arbitral proceedings; (3) Other specific issues that may be relevant to parties and tribunals at any stage of the arbitration”; and (4) Issues relevant to the hearings. IT security was one of the major issues explored in the panel. A full copy of this report is available at –

Next, this writer presented on “Use of Videoconferencing in International Arbitration and Mediation”. Areas covered were (1) A Brief History of Videoconference Time; (2) The First International Mediation via Video; (3) Advantages and Drawbacks of Video; (4) Experience as an Arbitrator with Video in International Arbitration Cases; (5) Effect of Video on the Proceedings; and (6) Practical Tips to Prepare your Video Session. Copies of this presentation are available in both English and Spanish on request to

Last but not least, Spanish attorney Raquel Ballesteros presented a futuristic view of use of technology in commerce and arbitration, including so-called self-executing “smart contracts”, blockchain technology, and AI in the legal and arbitration worlds.

Our SVAMC Latin America Group member Attorney Carlos Duque from Colombia also attended this Conference and panel session and found it to be a very valuable experience.

Our hosts were most friendly and the audience showed considerable interest in technology issues relating to international arbitration.


by Paul Eric Mason