New Rules for the ICC Arbitration Procedure

In the future, the settlement of arbitration procedures that have a dispute value of less than two million US dollars will be expedited; in the case of higher dispute values the parties can also agree to apply this new procedure. It is due to the new guidelines for the expedited procedure in the Arbitration Rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which came into force on the 1 March 2017. The updated rules can be downloaded here.

Some of the essential points of the new expedited procedure (Appendix VI of the Arbitration Rules) in brief:

  • Even when the parties have agreed otherwise in their arbitration clause, the Court of Arbitration appoints a sole arbitrator – if the parties are unable to agree on an arbitrator themselves within a short period.
  • New claims are essentially not permitted in the expedited procedure.
  • There are short time limits for the first Case Management Conference and for determining the Terms of Reference.
  • The Final Award is to be issued six months after the Case Management Conference. The Court of Arbitration may also extend the time limit, but only in exceptional cases.
  • The fees are reduced.
  • The Court of Arbitration may also decide on the basis of the documents submitted, i.e. without hearing, without further documents and without examination of witnesses or experts. However, the award is still reviewed by the ICC Court of Arbitration.

The procedure is applicable for arbitration clauses that are agreed after the 1 March 2017. Therefore, the expedited procedure must be subsequently agreed for arbitration clauses that were already concluded before that date.

The introduction of the expedited procedure will facilitate an agreement on the ICC Rules of Arbitration when negotiating arbitration clauses in the future. Accordingly, the ICC Court of Arbitration increases the ICC procedure’s appeal. Further transparency rules, which were agreed by the ICC Executive Board, are also intended to increase the ICC procedure’s appeal.

(21 February 2017)