Modern times call for modern measures and tools, and the field of international arbitration is no exception to that rule.
The impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has already been thoroughly discussed by scholars and practitioners, as has its potential impact on a wide range of fields of law. We admit that our reality has undeniably changed, and we fully acknowledge that technologies will play – and already are playing – a bigger role in our lives on a daily basis. Against this backdrop, it is crucial to adapt to the constantly evolving scenario and to be prepared for the future. This task is easier if handled with the proper tools, including Artificial Intelligence (“AI”).
The use of AI in international arbitration has been a hot topic in the past few months. During that time, scholars and practitioners have provided input on how AI might influence dispute resolution systems in the future. In that context, it has been argued that AI may be exploited from several angles, such as issuing an enforceable award or administration of arbitration proceedings. This article will address potential use of AI in arbitration proceedings, i.e., how the use of such modern tools can help counsel to prepare cases in the most efficient way. It will also provide a concrete example of an existing use of AI.
Efficiency is a cornerstone of international arbitration, to the extent that its pursuit is indicated as a requirement, an objective, and a guideline for arbitration proceedings according to several institutional rules. For example, Section 13 of the Administered Arbitration Rules of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (“HKIAC”) provides, “The arbitral tribunal and the parties shall do everything necessary to ensure the fair and efficient conduct of the arbitration.” Likewise, Section 19 of the Rules of Arbitration and Mediation, issued by the Vienna International Arbitral Centre, sets forth, “The arbitral tribunal shall conduct the arbitration in accordance with the Vienna Rules and the agreement of the parties in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”
Although there is a “legal vacuum” as far as the use of AI is concerned, nonetheless the majority of the abovementioned provisions strongly encourage the parties to enhance/improve efficiency of arbitration proceedings, potentially by relying upon electronic tools. One of many examples is found in Section 14 of the LCIA, which establishes that the arbitral tribunal may “make any procedural order it considers appropriate with regard to the fair, efficient and expeditious conduct of the arbitration,” including by “employing technology to enhance the efficiency and expeditious conduct of the arbitration.” That wording should clearly be interpreted as encompassing AI.
Indeed, AI, inter alia, has the potential to help parties swiftly categorize and review a very large number of documents in a short span of time.
Luminance Discovery is one example of AI applicable to the management of an arbitration case .
Discovery is a platform released by the Luminance group. Luminance is an AI developed by mathematicians at Cambridge University that is capable of combining supervised and independent machine learning technologies. Back in 2017, Portolano Cavallo proudly became the first Italian client of the Luminance group and one of the first Italian legal firms to adopt and routinely use Luminance Diligence, the platform provided by the Luminance group and designed to conduct due diligence via Luminance’s AI.
After experiencing satisfying results in the past few years, a few months ago, Portolano Cavallo announced that it is also going to adopt and implement the Luminance Discover platform, which applies to the process of investigations and litigation (including arbitration) and compliance with data protection regulations. Capable of “combining robust, AI-driven document analysis with powerful data culling and filter widgets, Luminance quickly highlights anomalous results and areas of interest, enabling lawyers to rapidly zero in on relevant information.”
Like Diligence, Discovery provides a vast number of tools that enhance the efficiency and productivity of anyone approaching a legal case for a first time. To give a broad overview of the potential of this platform, Diligence allows the user to apply powerful filters to great amounts of data to sensitively narrow down research to a few steps; organize documents by conceptual affinities without any need for previous training; and expedite document review.
International arbitration is always in search of quick turnaround and new methods and generally makes efficient conduct of proceedings a top priority. AI, such as Luminance Discovery, is positioned as a medium that is much-needed to help achieve this goal and to improve the quality of work on the part of international arbitration practitioners worldwide.
 This is similarly reflected in the wording of Section 3 of the IBA Rules titled “Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration,” which provides guidance in this field, establishing that “the requesting Party may, or the Arbitral Tribunal may order that it shall be required to, identify specific files, search terms, individuals or other means of searching for such Documents in an efficient and economical manner.”