The volume of the cross-border commercial transactions in electronic form is growing steadily from year to year. So, in 2016, for the first time, a major foreign transaction was concluded using the "blockchain" technology . Objectively, the parties to such transactions need fast, efficient, cost-effective and high-quality resolution of the disputes arising between them.
Over the past few decades, arbitration has become the leading way to resolve disputes in international trade and other international economic activities. At least 97% of respondents mentioned this during the global international arbitration survey conducted by the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary University of London and international law firm White & Case in 2018 .
In many countries, the current trend is the desire to optimize the dispute resolution procedure, including by providing parties with new technological opportunities to use the latest achievements of electronic document management, which, in turn, significantly affects the practice of world arbitration institutions on the active use of remote communication technologies, namely, the application of all the benefits of e-justice in arbitration.
Online dispute resolution procedures are widespread in the USA, especially in dispute resolution regarding the distribution of domain names. A clear example of such procedures is the Uniform Domain Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), developed by the international noncommercial organization Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). UDRP is a transparent global online dispute resolution process that allows trademark's owners to deal effectively with the registration of the domain names used in bad faith purposes. According to this organization, companies using this technology have been successful in more than 30 thousand disputes over domain names . One of the first among them was "Virtual Magistrate", created with the support of American Arbitration Association. The issue of the award by the "Virtual Magistrate" dated 08 May 1996 after interaction with the parties exclusively through electronic means of communication is considered the first case of the use of online arbitration. In the Russian Federation, an online platform for dispute resolution was offered by the Association for the Promotion of Arbitration (Arbitration Association).
Technology creates benefits: comfort, quality improvement and cost reduction. Today technologies have already being implemented: for example, correspondence between the participants to the arbitration proceedings (parties, arbitrators, secretariat) can be carried out by the e-mail; procedural documents and evidence are filed in electronic form ; case management conferences are held by telephone or videoconferencing; minutes of a hearing are often conducted using various systems that allow the participants to see the transcript in real time. In some countries, the disclosure of electronic evidence (e-discovery) is gradually spreading .
73% of respondents of the above-mentioned survey, conducted by the Queen Mary University of London, expressed the opinion that they "always" or "frequently" use "hearing room technologies", noting that "more active use of the technology in arbitration means more effective arbitration". Participants of the survey emphasized that one of the most notable advantages of technology, which is already widely used un international arbitration, is the ability of the participants to conduct hearings and meetings via videoconferencing or, as a rule, using any other means of communication that do not require physical presence .
So, foreign arbitration institutions begin to introduce and use online platforms for exchanging information and communication between the parties in administering arbitration proceedings: from 1 October 2014 the new arbitration rules of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) provided the possibility to exchange documents in electronic form and using ready-made templates posted on the LCIA website, including requests for arbitration ; from 2018 similar electronic systems have been operating at the Vienna International Arbitration Centre (VIAC)  and in the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) ; in September 2019 the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) has launched a communication platform through which all participants in the proceedings can download, view and print case files, as well as follow the procedural timetable.
Modern arbitration is criticized in two main directions – the cost and the duration of the process. In arbitration, both very complex and quite simple disputes can be considered (up to $1 million as generally accepted). For the latter categories of the disputes it will be interesting to resolve disputes through online arbitration. Moreover, online arbitration will be interesting for simple disputes (delivery – non-payment), when there is no need for the hearing and it is possible to resolve the dispute based on the documents only, which will also contribute to the interests of the consumers of arbitration.
The term "online arbitration" has several meanings, however all of them come down to the fact that the concept of "online arbitration" is used to describe arbitration proceedings conducted using remote communication technologies between participants in the process . However, as noted in the legal literature, in order "an online arbitration will be considered as arbitration, it must contain all signs of arbitration proceedings: arbitration agreement, the presence of the arbitrators (arbitrator) appointed by the parties and, most importantly, mandatory, conducted in accordance with the rules of this online place to resolve disputes, to enforce an award, etc. .
There are two types of online arbitration:
1) online arbitration in the sphere of electronic commerce;
2) arbitration using online communications.
The subject of this study is the analysis of the possibility of arbitration using online communications. Evaluation of the possibility of online arbitration in the field of electronic commerce is not the subject of this study.
Currently, many online platforms have been created for online dispute resolution. For example, ADR.eu, eCourt, ZipCourt ICANN, http://mylawbc.com/
The above indicates that technology has a significant impact and at the time simplifies the arbitration process. Moreover, such innovations make arbitration attractive for both medium and small companies, which often refuse to resolve disputes through arbitration due to its high cost, geographical remoteness and, consequently, transportation costs. Avoiding these circumstances, such companies can safely enter into the resolution of the disputes with international corporations through arbitration.
Despite the obvious presence of the advantages, several disadvantages are still present. So, the question arises of applying the principles of international commercial arbitration to arbitration online. Some believe that traditional methods and principles should not be carried over to the online arbitration procedure , others are of the opinion that online arbitration cannot remain effective without traditional principles and requirements, such as, for example, face-to-face meetings [14 ].
Special attention should be paid to the issues of compatibility of software and computer equipment, issues of electronic exchange of documents, protection of the authenticity of electronic documents, issues of maintaining confidentiality.
To be able to use online arbitration, a few questions shall be answered:
· the validity of the arbitration agreement, concluded by correspondence via e-mail (question of the form of arbitration agreement);
· procedural aspects (in particular, notifications of the parties);
· form of the arbitral award made through arbitration online;
· enforceability of awards.
Researches on the topic of online arbitration have been carried out abroad for more than a decade, while in the post-Soviet countries, online arbitration has not been studied much. So, in this study, it is proposed to analyze the possibility of using online arbitration using the example of such former USSR countries as the Republic of Belarus, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.