Data protection roadmap issued for arbitration professionals

Out-Law News | 16 Mar 2020 | 11:17 am | 1 min. read

New guidance has been prepared to help arbitration professionals meet their obligations under data protection law when handling data as part of arbitral proceedings.

The draft roadmap to data protection in international arbitration has been produced by a taskforce set up by International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) and International Bar Association (IBA).

The roadmap provides guidance on a wide range of data protection considerations, including requirements around the processing of personal data, recognition of the rights of data subjects and data security obligations.

Although the guidance has been developed for arbitration professionals around the world, it provides an overview of data protection requirements with reference to the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Paul Haswell of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said: "Participants to arbitral proceedings may not be aware that they are very likely to be data processors for the purposes of applicable data protection laws, and therefore may be breaching those laws simply be collecting, processing and transferring data – including but not limited to personal data – in the process of an international arbitration."

"Even if a party to arbitration is aware that they have data privacy obligations, the number of jurisdictions involved in that arbitration may make compliance with those obligations bewildering: by way of example it’s not unlikely that even a relatively straightforward arbitration could involve the exchange of documents containing protected data originating from Europe and China, thereby triggering the protections contained in both the GDPR and the Chinese Cybersecurity Law," he said. "In this context the draft roadmap is to be welcomed. It focuses on the GDPR, which is often considered to be the gold standard in data privacy laws, and which contains provisions we can expect many other jurisdictions to adopt."

"Compliance with the GDPR can be complex and costly, but the draft roadmap gives clear guidance on the issues it poses for parties to an arbitration, and how best to navigate those issues without compromising the arbitral proceedings and without risking penalties under the law," Haswell said.

The draft roadmap is open to consultation until Tuesday 31 March. The final roadmap is expected to be published at the ICCA Congress, which is due to be held in Edinburgh on 12 May.