New guidance on how to resolve digital disputes

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Despite the rise in popularity of new digital technologies – such as cryptoassets, smart contracts, and blockchain – the treatment of disputes in the technological sphere has been largely inconsistent. Given that new technology sparks possibilities for new types of disputes, guidance on this topic has been long awaited.

The Digital Dispute Resolution Rules, published in April 2021 by the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce, encourage arbitration as the primary route to resolution. Some of the key benefits include:

  • the ability to choose an agreed, appropriately experienced, and technology-savvy arbitrator
  • a streamlining of the dispute process and minimisation of time and cost through the requirement for decisions to be made within 30 days of referral to the arbitrator
  • the implementation of resolution mechanisms ‘on-chain’ using a private key, which removes the need for third-party involvement or enforcement action
  • global enforceability of arbitration

Whilst the rules do not apply automatically and must instead be subscribed to by the parties, it is hoped that they will facilitate efficient and affordable resolution whilst maintaining the flexibility to adapt to dynamic and evolving technologies.

Whether the rules will bring about the desired benefits on a widespread scale is yet to be seen, however, the publication of the rules is a huge step towards bringing clarity into the process of resolving disputes in the technology sphere.

If you would like to discuss any of the above or have any questions about the treatment of disputes in the technological sphere, please don’t hesitate to contact us here. You can also read more about our dedicated tech team here.