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New ICC Arbitration Rules

In October 2016 the International Chamber of Commerce ("ICC") passed a revision of its 2012 arbitration rules, aimed at increasing the efficiency and transparency of ICC arbitrations.

The new rules, entered in force on March 1, 2017, will apply to any proceedings commencing after 1 March 2017, irrespective of the date of the arbitration agreement or the contract containing the arbitration clause.

The key changes regard the Expedited Procedure (Article 30 and the new Appendix VI of the rules) and the amended cost scales (which became effective on 1 January 2017).

The procedure is simplified:

  1. the ICC Court may appoint a sole arbitrator notwithstanding the parties have agreed differently in the arbitration agreement
  2. new claims cannot be filed after the arbitral tribunal is constituted, except for those approved by the arbitral tribunal
  3. No terms of reference required
  4. A case management conference shall take place within 15 days after the transmission of the file to the arbitral tribunal
  5. Broad discretion of the arbitral tribunal on the proceedings including the right to limit the number, length and scope of written submissions and written witness evidences. The arbitral tribunal may even decide to take a decision based only on the documents (no hearings, no examination of witnesses and experts and no additional documents allowed).
  6. A scale providing for reduced fees applies. In accordance with art. 4 (2), the fees of the arbitral tribunal shall be fixed according to a separate scale for the expedite procedure set out in appendix III, where ICC's administrative expenses are maintained while the arbitrators' fee range is reduced by 20 %.
  7. The final award is rendered within six months from the case management conference.

The Expedited Procedure provisions apply if:

  1. the arbitration agreement is concluded after 1 March 2017;
  2. the amount in dispute does not exceed US$2,000,000;
  3. the parties have not opted out of the Expedited Procedure Rules in the arbitration agreement or at any time thereafter.

The Expedited Procedure Provisions shall also apply, irrespective of the date of conclusion of the arbitration agreement or the amount in dispute, if the parties have agreed to opt in.

On the other hand, the procedure does not apply if the Court, upon the request of a party before the constitution of the arbitral tribunal or on its own motion, determines that applying the Expedited Procedure Provisions it is inappropriate in the circumstances.

Outside the scope of the Expedited Procedure Rules, parties' agreement prevails, in accordance with art. 11.

As a further measure to increase transparency of the ICC Court, under the new Rules the ICC Court may publish the reasoning of its decisions to appoint, confirm, challenge and replace  arbitrators. Prior consent of the parties is not required.

Any party will now be in a position to request the ICC Court to provide reasons for its decisions.

As mentioned above, the other key change regards certain amendments to the cost scales which came into effect on 1 January 2017 and will be applicable, in accordance with Appendix III art. 4 (1), to arbitration proceedings commenced on or after 1 January 2017, irrespective of the version of the Rules applying to such arbitrations.

The key amendments to the cost scale relate to filing fees and administration expenses. With regard to the filing fee, this has been increased from USD 3,000 to USD 5,000.

As for the administrative expenses, changes have been made to the percentages applicable to the lower and the top tranches of the amount in dispute. For disputes with a disputed amount below USD 200,000, the percentages have been reduced, while the percentages have increased for disputes in the range of USD 200,000 and USD 2,000,000, and for disputes with a disputed amount above of USD 500 million. The maximum amount for administrative expenses has been raised to USD 150,000.

No changes have been made to the scale of arbitrator's fees.

DISCLAIMER: the content of this news is for informational purposes only and neither represents, nor can be construed as a legal opinion