Almost one year ago, life for most of us changed irrevocably: we went from commuting to and from our offices and fighting traffic to commuting between our bedrooms and “home” offices and fighting over internet access. We went into “lockdown.” And with it, we all took an accelerated course on how to use video conferencing, Zoom included. Our lives suddenly began to play out almost totally on our computer screens in video conference mode whether business or social! And with it came Zoom fatigue. This year long pandemic has allowed Jeremy N. Bailenson in the Department of Communications at Stanford University to conduct research onRead More →

Published November 2020 in the Michigan bar Journal. On January 1, 2020, “zoom” was a verb, a noise a car makes. Three months later, Zoom be came a noun. It happened in the blink of an eye, like when Amazon no longer referred to a river in the rainforest, and Apple was no longer a fruit. Just as suddenly, Corona isn’t a beer served with lime. No one can honestly say the legal profession was prepared for a pandemic. While some companies had a long history of team meetings via WebEx and GoToMeeting, lawyers and the judiciary were far away from regularly using these tools.Read More →

Prior to the pandemic, virtual hearings for labor-management arbitration and mediation were rarely used. Since the start of the pandemic and with its acceleration, virtual platforms are now the dominant forums for arbitrations and mediations. Will the adoption of virtual interactions continue after the pandemic or will in-person approaches return? The answer is we just don’t know. However, there are signs that virtual hearings will be used in some circumstances, such as in simple, low value/impact cases. In addition, certain aspects of the process are likely to continue, such as advance planning sessions and the acceptance of a virtual option where participants are otherwise unavailable.Read More →

INTRODUCTION Much has been written about the future. However, when we read about “what will come” we see it as “something far away”. It is a perception that is always accompanied by the certainty of the present and the randomness of “tomorrow” (most likely we think “We don’t know what is going to happen and… if it will happen). It has cost us, human beings, and it is difficult for us to understand what are the steps we must take in order to reach the future. This is so, because making this reflection forces us to think about the simple, ordinary and everyday things thatRead More →

Capic v Ford Motor Company of Australia Limited (Adjournment) [2020] FCA 486 File number: NSD 724 of 2016 Judge: PERRAM J Date of judgment: 15 April 2020 Catchwords: PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – application by Respondent for adjournment of trial – where virtual trial proposed in circumstances of COVID-19 pandemic – where virtual trial submitted adversely to impact conduct, length and expense of trial – consideration of relevant principles Legislation: Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) ss 37M, 47CPublic Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Amendment Order 2020 (NSW)Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 (NSW)Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) ss 7, 10Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic) ss 199, 203Stay at Home Directions (No 3) (Vic) Cases cited: CampaignRead More →

Diamond Princess. By now, the name is almost synonymous with corona. Diamond Princess is the ship where the coronavirus affected some seven hundred passengers out of about four thousand people on board. While the Diamond Princess crisis was ongoing, a first lawsuit was served against Princess Cruise Lines, the operator of the Diamond Princess. The suit was filed by an American couple who boarded another Princess ship in San Francisco. The plaintiffs claimed that they were held onboard because of a virus scare, disembarking a few days later in Oakland, California. They also claimed that Princess Lines neglected their health after the Diamond Princess contamination,Read More →

As China slowly sends people back to work in an effort to reboot its economy, the government is advising dispute resolution organizations across the country to bolster their online dispute resolution efforts as it anticipates an increase in domestic disputes emerging from the coronavirus pandemic. The Ministry of Justice issued a guideline on March 3 calling for the accelerated development of China’s “internet arbitration systems.” The guideline emphasizes the importance of online dispute resolution, or ODR, for achieving its goal of getting the economy back on track while still maintaining control over the spread of COVID-19. China’s economy ground to a halt beginning in January as the world watched the coronavirus outbreak spread from WuhanRead More →

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore what most people in emerging economies particularly in some countries in sub-Africa have never really given a thought to – working from home. For a majority of Africans in the sub-Sahara, special dispensation is usually afforded to employees who work remotely on an exceptional basis. i.e. illness or circumstances that are extremely grave. There is no doubt that the ability to work from home has been mainly due to the widespread availability of constant electricity and the availability of consistent Internet service. Most employers and employees are however unable to access the tools to work remotely asRead More →