The new ICC Rules of Arbitration have been circulated. They have been three years in the making and come into effect on 1 January 2012. The last revision was in 1998 so it is not surprising that there are many changes. Most seek to speed up and thereby reduce the costs of the process.
The new filter provisions are to be welcomed as they will speed up any jurisdictional problems. The most dramatic and also most welcome development is the introduction of an Emergency Arbitrator procedure. This allows the appointment of an Emergency Arbitrator to deal with urgent applications before the Tribunal is constituted. This should allow the ICC process to be used in urgent cases where immediate orders are required. Obviously the Tribunal will have to modify terminate or annul any decision made. Further it should be noted that the use of the Emergency Arbitrator procedure is available unless the parties have opted out expressly or by implication. The changes should see the ICC being used more willingly by those seeking emergency relief.
Further the ICC has recognised concerns about the time that is taken to appoint arbitrators due to the reliance on national committees, and so in urgent situations, and where it is "necessary and appropriate", the ICC Court can by-pass the national committee system; and where the committees are involved time limits can be fixed. The addition of a Case Management Conference at an early stage and the requirement that Arbitrators at the close of proceedings state when they anticipate being able to submit a draft award will all serve to speed the process.
The most daring changes relate to multi party and multi contract disputes with the provision that additional parties can be joined by existing parties up until the point that an Arbitrator is appointed. That is a radical change and time will tell whether it actually works in the market place.
/ 1st Oct 2011
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