An interview with José Ricardo Feris, Deputy Secretary General, ICC International Court of Arbitration

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Sherina Petit: Jose we are delighted to have you here today and thank you for taking the time to come down from Paris. Given that it’s been about two years since the 2012 ICC Rules were launched and implemented this is a good time to, I guess, reflect and consider how the changes in the Rules have really assisted in the arbitration process and has it made the hoped for improvements to time and costs.

If you were to consider one big change from the old Rules which you believe has made a really big impact, which one would it be and why?

José Ricardo Feris: Well I would have to say emergency arbitrator because ..

Sherina Petit: I thought you might..

José Ricardo Feris: Well, you know what happens is that many of the changes that we introduce reflected to practices that we already had in place. Whereas emergency arbitrator was something relatively new for the ICC in the context of ICC Arbitration. Of course the ICC was the first one to create that kind of remedy through the Pre-Arbitral Referee Rules but this is the first time that we have such a procedure as part of the Arbitration. And of course we had internally to prepare to make sure that we could answer properly those requests. So for us internally it has been a huge challenge and we’ve had a lot of fun actually in administering these types of proceedings.

Sherina Petit: And what has the ICC done to ensure that the appointments can be made quickly, and is there an ICC blacklist or whitelist if I can be cheeky enough to ask?

José Ricardo Feris: I think the answer to the question of whether there’s a blacklist or whitelist – institutions have memory and I think institutional memory is very important. Now with respect to the emergency arbitrator procedure in particular, we have put in place a procedure that allows us to answer very quickly to any application that arrives. When you send .. we have created emergency arbitrator email address, so we encourage parties to send their application or any query they may have regarding an application to that address. There is a management team at the ICC that will immediately receive that email so that will allow us to, no matter where we are or what time of the day or anything that ensures that at least one person is going to be reading the email and trying to start the process. The good thing is that in all fourteen cases that we’ve had so far we have managed to appoint the Arbitrator either within 24 hours or at the most within 48 hours which is what the Rules provide for.

Sherina Petit: Jose, thank you so much for being so open and candid and giving us your valuable time and a bird’s eye view of the 2012 ICC Rules and how they are progressing and of course touching upon the emergency arbitrator provisions. Thank you.