8 ways ICC led dispute resolution in 2020

  • 1 January 2021

In a challenging year, ICC remained steadfast in our commitment to bring our quality dispute resolution services closer to users worldwide.

Here are 8 highlights from our ICC Dispute Resolution year…

  1. Announcing record figures and a major milestone

ICC’s dispute resolution year got off to a flying start with the registration of our 25,000th arbitration case. In January, we also announced record figures for 2019 revealing a record 869 new cases involving parties originating from 147 countries and independent territories.

President of the ICC International Court of Arbitration Alexis Mourre said:

“The continued growth in ICC Arbitration cases not only reflects ICC’s global expansion efforts to bring our services closer to users worldwide but also the level of trust placed in our superior-quality, neutral services that support trade and investment in volatile times.”

A full statistical report was published later in the year.

  1. Ensuring access to dispute resolution in the face of a global pandemic

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, ICC stepped up to enable continued access to its leading dispute resolution services and joined arbitral institutions from around the world in a message calling for solidarity and cooperation. ICC Court President Alexis Mourre said:

“As a recognised leading arbitral institution with global reach we are proud to join our arbitral peers and to continue our efforts to provide certainty and recourse to trusted dispute resolution services at this volatile time.”

In April, ICC released a Guidance Note outlining a range of measures to help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on arbitral proceedings providing support to parties, counsel and arbitral tribunals in ICC Arbitrations on the challenges currently faced in ensuring fair, timely and efficient resolution of disputes.

ICC dedicated the lockdown period in Paris to further modernise ICC’s Hearing Centre premises and enhance rooms with technology and equipment adaptable for physical presence, virtual or hybrid hearings.

ICC events also adapted to Covid restrictions to ensure access to professional development and networking opportunities – hosting the first-ever fully digital edition of the ICC Miami Conference on International Arbitration in November. The four-day event brought together close to 400 practising lawyers, arbitrators, mediators, corporate counsel and academics from 40 countries.

  1. Introducing new rules for a new year

In October 2020, the ICC Executive Board formally approved revised ICC Rules of Arbitration, last updated in 2017. The revised ICC Rules of Arbitration enter into force on 1 January 2021. ICC Court President Alexis Mourre described the amendments as a further step towards their greater efficiency, flexibility and transparency, making ICC Arbitration even more attractive, both for large, complex arbitrations and for smaller cases.

Ahead of entry into force of the rules ICC released updates to its Note to Parties and Arbitral Tribunals on the Conduct of Arbitration under the ICC Rules of Arbitration, effective 1 January 2021.

  1. Ensuring leadership excellence

ICC Court President Alexis Mourre, announced that he would be stepping down from his role as President of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, upon expiry of his second term on 30 June 2021.

Following a transparent and independent process to find a new President, ICC announced the recommendation for election by the ICC World Council of Claudia T. Salomon as President of the ICC International Court of Arbitration. The recommendations put Ms Salomon on the path to becoming the first woman President of the ICC Court in its almost 100-year history.

Mr Mourre gave an interview outlining the role.

In October, ICC announced the appointment of Justin D’Agostino to the ICC Governing Body for Dispute Resolution Services (DRS). Chief Executive Officer of Herbert Smith Freehills, a leading international law firm, Mr D’Agostino has been a member of the ICC International Court of Arbitration since 2018 and is past Chairman of the ICC Belt and Road Commission.

  1. Strengthening our global presence

In line with ICC Centenary Declaration commitments, ICC continued to invest in and innovate our world-leading arbitral process to provide effective alternative dispute resolution methods to support global commerce.

In December, ICC announced that it would be opening its 5th overseas case management office in Abu Dhabi Global Market while earlier in the year, the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil, identified the Sao Paulo office of the ICC Court, known as SCIAB, as a registered institution – supporting ICC’s growing presence across Brazil and Latin America.

In March, ICC Court President Alexis Mourre, announced the appointment of Susan L. Munro, Managing Partner of the Beijing and Hong Kong offices of Steptoe & Johnson and Robert S. Pe, ICC Court Member for Myanmar as Co-Chairs of the Court’s Belt and Road (BRI) Commission responsible for raising awareness of ICC’s role as the “go-to” arbitral institution for Belt and Road disputes.

  1. Building skills of tomorrow’s mediators

The University of Auckland emerged victorious from the 15th edition of the ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition held virtually for the first time in in history in February. The competition saw student teams compete over six days and featured close to 150 mock mediation sessions.

  1. Promoting gender diversity in arbitration

ICC was represented in a cross-institutional task force that released a report on gender diversity in arbitral appointments and proceedings in July.

Underscoring ICC’s recognition of the importance and benefits of gender balance in arbitration, ICC Court Secretary General Alexander G. Fessas said that it was encouraging to see progress being made on an issue where more work remains to be done.

  1. Encouraging business law excellence

In September, ICC’s Institute of World Business Law announced the launch of the 10th edition of the ICC Institute Prize calling for entries to this prestigious award recognising the best in class legal work in commercial law – including arbitration. In October, ICC announced Eduardo Silva Romero, Partner of Dechert’s International Arbitration global practice as the Institute’s incoming Chair, taking up the position on 1 January 2021 when current chair Yves Derains steps down. Two incoming Vice-Chairs were also announced.

Learn more about ICC Dispute Resolution Services

Read 10 ways ICC made business work in 2020