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Shaping the Future: Navigating the Evolving Landscape of International Dispute Resolution

The international dispute resolution landscape is changing dynamically, reflecting broader shifts in global legal practices, technological advancements, and the evolving nature of global business interactions. 

Observing these changes from within a global expert services practice, this article explores the key trends in the world of international disputes and the ways in which dispute professionals collaborate to achieve better results.

Activism, Disputes, and Social Change

Disputes often act as catalysts for societal change, spotlighting injustices and prompting legal reforms. As society evolves, public opinion and shifting norms influence legal standards, driving legislative and judicial changes to reflect contemporary values. 

Conversely, high-profile legal disputes can reshape societal attitudes by challenging existing norms and setting precedents. This dynamic interplay between society and the legal system ensures that both are in a constant state of evolution, responding to and influencing each other in a cycle of continuous change. 

The growing importance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues is a hot topic in both political and legal discussions. As global awareness of climate change and social justice issues rises, these considerations are becoming central to many international disputes. 

Shifts of this scale alter the nature of disputes and the criteria by which they are judged, with arbitrators and judges increasingly considering the broader social and environmental impact of their decisions.


One of the most notable trends in international dispute resolution is the increasing reliance on technology. Virtual hearings, which became a necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, have shown their value in reducing costs and increasing accessibility, making them a staple in the dispute resolution process. This shift has prompted organizations and legal systems worldwide to update their rules and procedures to accommodate virtual proceedings, leading to a more flexible and efficient resolution process.

Independence, Teamwork, and the Next Generation

The complexity of cases is increasing, reflecting the sophistication of global business, projects, transactions, and trade relationships. This complexity requires expert assistance to narrow the issues in the case and reach a single version of the truth. The independence of expert witnesses is critical, and yet, as part of a properly coordinated case, they are an important part of the team. 

The increased use of hot-tubbing, where experts from both sides testify together in court, promotes direct dialogue and clarifies technical issues efficiently. This process enhances the understanding of complex matters, reduces adversarial conflict, and helps the court or tribunal reach informed decisions, ultimately streamlining the resolution of disputes and saving time and resources. Similar benefits are achieved using expert determinations.

The role of expert witnesses is expanding beyond traditional boundaries. Experts are increasingly involved in the early stages of a dispute to provide strategic advice, helping parties navigate the complexities of cases and potentially avoid lengthy disputes. 

Working with experts in this context is also a great way of helping them gain vital experience as they develop their careers. It can be just as helpful to trainees, pupils, and other apprentice lawyers to be matched with junior experts, helping them to develop essential skills for instructing experts.

Uniting for Global Challenge and Opportunity

The international dispute resolution community is recognizing that working together is necessary to address the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly changing world. 

Professional associations, legal institutions, and individual practitioners are coming together to share knowledge, develop best practices, and advocate for reforms that reflect the needs of global commerce and justice. Forums such as London International Disputes Week play a key role in promoting the rule of law and driving best practices globally. 

One of the key areas of collaboration is the development of international standards for dispute resolution. By working towards harmonized rules and practices, the dispute resolution community aims to provide greater predictability and fairness in international disputes, encouraging cross-border trade and investment.

This is also reflected in the efforts of international organizations, whose purpose is to promote change for good. Diversity, equity and inclusion, and climate conservation are among the focuses of important campaigns. By placing these issues at the top of the agenda for busy practitioners, the same issues are a deciding factor on who to appoint. This not only enhances the quality of dispute resolution services but also ensures that the profession remains at the forefront of legal and technological advancements.

Looking Forward

The world of international dispute resolution is at a crossroads, facing both significant challenges and unprecedented opportunities. By embracing change, fostering collaboration, and adhering to the highest standards of professionalism, the international dispute resolution community is well-positioned to meet the demands of the 21st century, ensuring that it remains a key pillar of global justice and commerce.

© Copyright 2024. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of Ankura Consulting Group, LLC., its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals. Ankura is not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice.


emea, uk, dispute resolution, featured, article, disputes, international arbitration

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