Where a party needs immediate legal relief, emergency arbitration can often provide it. I will first discuss the emergency arbitration process, particularly its historic roots and what the process constitutes in the context of the AAA Commercial Rules, and then describe an actual emergency arbitration I handled this past summer for the ICDR in an international IP dispute. Generally speaking, a disputant often requires immediate (“interim”) relief whenever its counter-disputant unilaterally attempts to suddenly and materially change the status quo to the detriment of the disputant. The disputant may expeditiously need to, e.g.: protect or secure property, including essential evidence, then in possession of a counter-disputant from destruction; enjoin the counter-disputant from disclosing confidential information of the disputant; secure assets, which the counter-disputant is otherwise likely to transfer out of a tribunal’s jurisdiction; or prevent the counter-disputant from unilaterally taking other action against an significant interest of the disputant.
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