Three Reasons Why Data Protection in International Arbitration Matters

The ICCA-IBA Joint Task Force on Data Protection in International Arbitration has recently released the consultation draft of its Roadmap to Data Protection in International Arbitration for public comment. In this COVID-19 era, in which an increasing number of arbitration proceedings are making the shift online, sound knowledge of data protection is more essential to the field than ever. Task Force Co-Chairs Kathleen Paisley and Melanie van Leeuwen gave the ICCA Bureau three reasons why data protection in international arbitration matters.


Data protection is the law. The protection of personal data in international arbitration proceedings is mandatory law in most jurisdictions and a failure to comply carries significant potential penalties and risks.  


Data protection is good practice. Addressing data protection compliance early and proactively is part of effective case management and limits the risks of the data protection regulations being used as an excuse for delays and gamesmanship.


Data protection’s importance is highlighted by the impact of COVID-19 on international arbitration. In the absence of physical contact, digital information exchanges and video conferencing are increasingly becoming essential components of efficient and effective arbitration proceedings. Each of these information exchanges, including those made during virtual hearings, needs to comply with the data protection laws. The growing need for seamless digital communication requires the arbitration community to consider how effective digital communication can be reconciled with the data protection laws post-COVID-19, including data security, lawful data processing and transfer, data minimisation and other mandatory rules. The ICCA-IBA Roadmap is intended to help with this task.


The deadline to submit comments on the consultation draft of the ICCA-IBA Roadmap to Data Protection in International Arbitration is Tuesday 30 June 2020, which was recently moved back to allow more time for comments. Click here to download the consultation draft, and please submit your comments to the ICCA Bureau via email at Your opinion is valued.