15 November 2016

ICC Arbitration Rules revised

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has announced important amendments to its Rules of Arbitration (ICC Rules) in order to increase the efficiency and transparency of ICC arbitrations. Most significant amendment is the introduction of an expedited procedure, designed to make arbitration cheaper and faster in lower value cases. Furthermore, the amendments include a number of general innovations applicable to non-expedited cases as well. The objective of the amendments is to increase the efficiency and transparency of ICC arbitrations in general.

The amendments were approved by the ICC Executive Board in Bangkok on 20 October 2016 and will enter into force on 1 March 2017.

Expedited Cases

The Expedited Procedure Rules (Expedited Rules) will automatically apply to all claims that do not exceed USD 2,000,000. However, parties will have the possibility to opt out of the Expedited Rules. Furthermore, the Expedited Procedure Rules will also apply to cases involving amounts greater than USD 2,000,000 if parties would have decided so.

Under the Expedited Rules, the ICC Court will appoint a sole-arbitrator, even if the arbitration agreement would provide for more than one arbitrator. The sole-arbitrator must be appointed within an expedited time frame and awards must be rendered within six months from the date of the case management conference. Extensions will only be granted in so-called limited and justified circumstances.

Furthermore, there will be no Terms of Reference and the tribunal will have discretion to decide the case on documents only, with no hearing, no requests to produce documents and no examination of witnesses. Hearings may also be held by video or telephone conference

Finally, he fees for expedited procedures will be calculated on a revised scale, which is likely to result in reduced fees in comparison to non-expedited cases.

General amendments

In addition, a number of general amendments have been made to the ICC Rules, amongst which the possibility for the Court to Court to appoint as arbitrator any person it considers suitable where one of the parties may be considered a state entity.

Further amendments include a cutback of the time limit for agreeing Terms of Reference from two months to 30 days as well as the possibility for the ICC Court to provide reasons for its decisions made on challenges without having to seek consent of all parties.

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