Proposed rules for resolving disputes arising from new technologies such as blockchain and smart contracts are to be opened for consultation from next week. The draft rules have been published by the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce, chaired by the master of the rolls, following the taskforce's 2019 statement on the legal status of cryptoassets and smart contracts. 

The rules aim to support a new arbitration procedure that will enable quick, informal and cost-effective resolution of disputes arising from new digital technologies such as smart contracts, blockchain and fintech.

The consultation, which opens with an online event on 26 February, invites responses to the following questions:

  • Is there a need for or advantage in a new arbitral process aimed at facilitating the rapid, informal and cost-effective resolution of disputes arising out of novel digital technologies?
  • Does the process as described in the draft rules meet that need?
  • And if not, why?

Drafting panel member Anne Rose, who co-leads the blockchain group at London firm Mishcon de Reya, said; 'The importance of these rules cannot be overstated. Disputes and access to resolution is known to be time consuming and costly, often prohibitively so. These rules, in conjunction with a tech-enabled online dispute resolution platform aims to provide SMEs and others with a speedy, cheap and easily accessible solution to settle disputes arising out of novel digital technologies.'