First arbitral tribunals constituted under ICC expedited procedures
The first arbitral tribunals under the recently-enacted expedited procedure provisions of the 2017 ICC Rules of Arbitration have been constituted in the course of the past three months.
Expedited proceedings apply to all arbitrations introduced under the ICC Rules, where the arbitration agreement is signed on or after 1 March 2017 and the overall amount in dispute does not exceed US$ 2 million. Parties may elect to opt out of the expedited provisions, while the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce may also decide not to apply them if it considers it inappropriate in the circumstances of a specific case.
Parties may also elect to opt in to the expedited provisions regardless of the amount in dispute or the date of conclusion of the arbitration agreement. In fact, it is by express party agreement that the first seven cases are now being managed under expedited provisions.
In most cases to date, party agreement was reached when filing the Answer to the Request for Arbitration and upon the Secretariat’s invitation for the joinder of additional parties. In one case, opt-in of the parties occurred only after the arbitral tribunal had been constituted and, specifically, was expressed during the case management conference.
The first disputes submitted to expedited proceedings cover a wide array of economic activities and sectors including industrial engineering, energy, pharmaceutical products, finance and hotel development.
The choice of language in the majority of proceedings is English while the place of arbitration varies from Vienna to Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and London in line with the most frequently selected cities according to the recently-published ICC Arbitration statistics.
It is worth noting that in all expedited proceeding cases so far the parties agreed to submit to a sole arbitrator – either under the original arbitration agreement or subsequently. In one case, the parties agreed that the sole arbitrator shall be appointed by the Court. In other cases, the parties preferred to first attempt to jointly nominate the sole arbitrator for confirmation by the Secretary General.
Under the new expedited procedure, parties stand to benefit from streamlined arbitration with reduced scales of arbitrator fees. Under the ICC Rules, the arbitral award must also be made within six months from the case management conference, with extensions granted only in limited and justified circumstances.
ICC Court President Alexis Mourre said: “In the world of international commerce, time and cost management are key factors of success, to business and governments alike. ICC’s expedited procedure guarantees that disputes will be managed as expeditiously and cost-efficiently as possible by a trusted and neutral institution.”
As the world’s leading arbitral institution, the ICC Court introduced the expedited procedure as part of a series of steps taken to foster the efficiency and the transparency of ICC Arbitration. The newly-amended ICC Arbitration Rules came into effect on 1 March 2017.