As from 1 March 2017, the revised Arbitration Rules of the International Court of Arbitration will be applicable. The revision aims to further increase the efficiency of ICC arbitration proceedings by shortening time limits, enhancing transparency and introducing Expedited Rules.

Expedited Procedure Rules

The Expedited Procedure Rules will be automatically applicable to all arbitrations where the amounts in dispute are below 2 million USD or for higher amounts if parties have opted in. The rules will not apply if parties have agreed to opt out or if the arbitration agreement was concluded before 1 March 2017.

A specific feature of these new rules is that the ICC Court will in principle appoint a sole arbitrator, even if the parties had decided otherwise in the arbitration agreement, thus leading to lower costs. Awards must be made within six months from the Case Management Conference.

No Terms of Reference need to be drafted. The arbitrator also has the discretion to decide the case on the basis of documents only, with no hearing and no examination of witnesses or experts. The arbitrator may also decide not to allow document production and to limit the length of written submissions and written witness evidence. All these measures should lead to a faster and more cost-efficient arbitration.

The arbitrator’s fees and administrative costs are also lower for arbitrations under the Expedited Procedure Rules.

Enhanced transparency

Another major change under the new ICC Arbitration Rules is the possibility for parties to ask the ICC Court to provide reasons for its decisions made on challenges of arbitrators and for other decisions such as prima facie jurisdictional decisions. A request by one of the parties is sufficient. This will enhance transparency of the ICC Court’s decisions.

International trends

By updating its rules, the ICC Court of Arbitration is meeting concerns of international users of arbitration that the process is becoming expensive and time-consuming. The Expedited Procedure Rules are an important step in meeting such concerns and follows the introduction of similar instruments by other major international arbitration institutions like the SCC or SIAC, thus enhancing the attractiveness of arbitration as a method of international dispute resolution.