On Nov. 4, 2014, China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) unveiled new arbitration rules (the 2015 Rules), which came into effect Jan. 1, 2015. The 2015 Rules bring CIETAC rules closer in line with international arbitration practices and includes special rules for arbitration under the CIETAC Hong Kong branch.
The primary changes to the currently effective 2012 rules (the 2012 Rules) are as follows:
- Arbitration Court: Under the 2012 Rules, the Arbitration Secretariat is responsible for the administration of arbitration cases. The 2015 Rules provide instead that the Arbitration Court will take over the functions of the Arbitration Secretariat.
- Emergency Arbitrator Relief: The 2015 Rules include the emergency arbitrator relief procedures, allowing parties to apply for emergency and interim relief by an emergency arbitrator prior to the formation of an arbitration tribunal.
- Multiple Contracts/Joinder/Consolidation: Increasingly, one transaction may involve multiple contracts all of which are connected with each other. The 2015 Rules allows parties to bring disputes arising out of multiple contracts to a single arbitration if the relevant contracts (1) consist of a master contract and its ancillary contracts, or are between the same parties and in the same legal relationship, (2) stem from the same transaction or the same series of transactions, and (3) contain the same or compatible arbitration terms. CIETAC, based on the 2015 Rules, may join in the third party to the arbitration if such third party is prima facie bound by the arbitration terms. In addition to the above, under certain circumstance, CIETAC may consolidate arbitrations without the consent of the parties.
- Threshold for Summary Procedure: The 2015 Rules increase the threshold for summary procedure to RMB 5 million (roughly $809,690).
CIETAC Hong Kong Arbitration
The CIETAC Hong Kong branch was set up in 2012 to hear cases in Hong Kong. The 2015 Rules include special provisions relating to arbitrations under the CIETAC Hong Kong branch, including the following:
- The venue of arbitration will be Hong Kong, unless the parties otherwise agreed;
- Hong Kong laws will be applicable to the arbitration;
- The parties may appoint arbitrators who are not on the CIETAC’s panel;
- The arbitration awards issued under the CIETAC Hong Kong branch are Hong Kong arbitration awards;
- The emergency arbitrator relief is also available to the CIETAC Hong Kong branch.
The 2015 Rules introduce new mechanisms, such as emergency arbitrator relief, and keeps CIETAC closer in line with international arbitration practices.
- Arbitration Rules for China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission
- Issuing authority: China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission
- Date of issuance: Nov. 4, 2014 / Effective date: Jan. 1, 2015