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An estimated 2-minute read

Amendments to the ICC rules of Arbitration

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The International Chamber of Commerce ('ICC') has recently amended its Rules of Arbitration. The amended Rules are effective as of 1 March 2017 ('ICC Rules'). These amendments are aimed at streamlining the conduct of arbitrations to increase transparency and make ICC arbitrations more time and cost efficient.

INTRODUCTION OF EXPEDITED PROCEDURE

The most significant amendment is the introduction of an Expedited Procedure for lower-value claims.

The Expedited Procedure is automatically applicable where the arbitration agreement was concluded after 1 March 2017 and the amount in dispute does not exceed US$ 2 million, unless the parties expressly opt-out, or the ICC Court of Arbitration ('Court') considers it inappropriate in the circumstances of a case.

The Expedited Procedure may also be applied in higher value claims, or to arbitration agreements concluded prior to 1

March 2017, if the parties expressly opt-in to Expedited Procedure.

The key features of the new Expedited Procedure are as follows:

a) The Court may appoint a sole arbitrator 'notwithstanding any contrary provision of the arbitration agreement.'

b) There will be no Terms of Reference, as is mandatory in normal course under the ICC Rules.

c) A case management conference must be held within 15 days after the date on which the file is transmitted to the arbitral tribunal.

d) The arbitral tribunal has been given discretion with respect to various procedural issues. For example, the tribunal may decide not to allow requests for document production or to limit the number, length and scope of written submissions and written witness evidence. Further, the tribunal may choose to decide the dispute solely on the basis of documents submitted by the parties, and if a hearing is required, conduct the same over videoconference, telephone or similar means of communication.

e) The final award must be rendered within six months from the date of the case management conference.

OTHER KEY AMENDMENTS

The amended ICC Rules also provide for greater transparency and accountability of the ICC Court. The language used in Article 11(4) has been amended and the Court will now provide reasons, upon request from a party, in relation to its decisions on appointment, confirmation, challenge or replacement of an arbitrator.

Further, in reference to non-expedited arbitrations, Article 23(2) has been amended and the Terms of Reference are now required to be transmitted to the Court within 30 days of the date on which file was transmitted to the arbitral tribunal. Prior to the amendments, the time-limit was two months from the date of transmission of file.

COMMENTS

The introduction of Expedited Procedure is in sync with similar rules being adopted by other international arbitration institutions. It is reflective of the growing popularity and demand for more efficient conduct of arbitrations and faster resolution of disputes, especially for disputes involving lower value claims

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