The metaverse may soon be home to a virtual platform for international dispute resolution if Singapore’s exploration into the possibility bears fruit.
This was announced by Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong last week, who said that the platform could utilize augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology to give parties involved in a dispute a realistic view of relevant sites.
“For example, in construction disputes, (that would mean) transporting the disputants to the location instead of poring over 2-D plans and diagrams,” Mr Tong said. He added that the platform could help businesses resolve real estate disputes without the need to travel, saving time and money.
Singapore is well-positioned to develop such a platform, given its strong legal system and infrastructure, as well as its accessibility and connectivity, Mr Tong said. In fact, many businesses, legal counsel, arbitrators, mediators, and expert witnesses already travel to Singapore for arbitration hearings and mediation services even if their disputes do not have a strong connection to the country.
The development of a virtual dispute resolution platform would build on Singapore’s existing strengths in this area, and position the country as a leading center for such services. It would also be a boon for businesses, that would be able to resolve disputes more efficiently and without the need to incur travel costs.
“If businesses see a need for an online replica of what Singapore might offer in the real world space, for this to be replicated in the metaverse space, we will explore building one,” Tong further said.
In an article, Wasel & Wasel Arbitration Services Inc. explored the implications of digital arbitration platforms such as the one proposed by Minister Tong. According to them, questions around the use of real and legal names, as well as the enforcement of platform rules and regulations, would need to be addressed.
“Ultimately, as the Metaverse continues to grow, digital identities are likely to become more congruous with our real identities, undoubtedly triggering a ludicrous number of legal and procedural questions for the international arbitration community,” the article said.