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Having remained open for virtual hearings during the COVID-19 lockdown, the ICC Hearing Centre, has now re-opened its doors to receive guests at its Paris premises, in strict accordance with French regulations regarding COVID-19 measures.

The state-of-the-art Hearing Centre of the International Chamber of Commerce welcomed back its first guests for a two-day physical presence hearing of an ICC case on Thursday 25 June, having been closed since 16 March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The remarkable speed and effectiveness with which the Dispute Resolution community rose to the digital challenge to enable business continuity during these unforeseen circumstances must be applauded,” said Alexander G. Fessas, Secretary General of the ICC Court. “ICC has dedicated the past three months of closure to further modernise the ICC Hearing Centre premises, enhancing hearing rooms with technology and equipment adaptable for in-person hearings, virtual or hybrid hearings, depending on the needs of our users.”

Receiving guests for physical presence hearings

The arbitral tribunal, party representatives and court reporters were all physically present at the ICC Hearing Centre for the first hearing. One party participated remotely using an IP-based video conferencing system, with full access to live transcription.

A second hearing scheduled with the Hearing Centre will be held in hybrid format (i.e., a combination of physical hearing with virtual hearing). The arbitrators, one of the parties, and court reporters will be physically present at the ICC Hearing Centre in Paris while the other party will join virtually from an overseas location. A cloud-based video conferencing system was selected as the platform of choice for this hearing, with a separate connection for live transcription and two cameras in use.

The majority of hearings scheduled to take place through the Hearing Centre for July will continue to leverage technology to facilitate both fully digital and hybrid solutions for case hearings, with  options including a range of IP and cloud-based video conferencing platforms. The ICC Hearing Centre is available to provide assistance with the platforms, which are generally used for hearings of no more than three days.

Safety first

Already stringent hygiene measures on the premises have been reinforced to safeguard the health of Hearing Centre visitors. These include the wide availability of protective face masks and disposable gloves, provision of antibacterial wipes and gel and restricting the number of visitors on the premises.

“Ensuring the safety of the ICC Hearing Centre staff and clients has remained our utmost priority during the pandemic,” said ICC Hearing Centre Manager Fiona Dermody. “ICC will continue to follow local authority recommendations and remains agile to adapting our operations to the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in line with our commitments to provide the best services to our guests.”

A contingency plan remains in place to help ensure the safety of everyone attending hearings in person at the ICC Hearing Centre in the heart of Paris.

Visit the Hearing Centre page for more information.

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