9 February 2021

On 3 and 4 December 2020, the National Commercial Arbitration Centre (“NCAC”) launched their first virtual hearing in the Kingdom of Cambodia, allowing parties to arbitrate their cases through the online videoconferencing platform Zoom. Approximately 30 participants, including a three-member Tribunal, witnesses, parties, and their legal counsels, attended the online hearing. Many of them were from foreign countries e.g. from Hungary, Macao, and Japan. This first virtual hearing was conducted at the parties’ request under the governing institutional rule, NCAC Rule No. 24.

Upon the request of the parties, the Tribunal decided to conduct virtual hearings by taking into account the recent COVID-19 outbreak, travel restriction issues as well as government’s safeguard measures (e.g. social distancing).

Before the date of the actual hearing, the NCAC’s secretariat notified all parties of the internal procedural rules for the parties to comply with throughout the hearing. Further, the NCAC has organised a pre-hearing trial-run to ensure that the arbitration proceeds smoothly. This gives the parties a chance to clarify any procedural questions they may have with the NCAC’s secretariate and become well acquainted with the proceedings.

Though virtual, the proceedings allow the parties to fully and actively participate in presenting their submissions/arguments and advocate on behalf of their client before the Tribunal as they would normally have done in a physical hearing. Similarly, the parties’ legal counsel and the Tribunal also engage in examination and cross-examination of witnesses.

Furthermore, this virtual hearing has also aided in cutting expenses/costs which would have been incurred by the parties by way of logistics, accommodation and travel expenses etc.

If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Khieu Mealy, Eszter Papp or Seangly Linna of SokSiphana&associates (a member of ZICO Law).

This alert is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice.