Most arbitration forums provide emergency and injunctive relief procedures for situations when the circumstances of the case do not allow for it to proceed within the standard time frame.
Parties who had previously agreed to arbitrate their disputes may find themselves in situations where the standard procedures for commencement of an arbitration do not provide for timely protection of their rights. This may become an issue, for example, when a dissolving partnership must be protected from disclosure of confidential information or where preservation of assets is of key importance. While the parties may always apply to the appropriate court for emergency relief, this is often less practicable. Fortunately, most arbitral forums provide for interim and emergency relief procedures.
- JAMS Emergency Relief Procedures provides for the appointment of an emergency arbitrator within 24 hours of a request made by the parties. Ex parte applications are not permitted and all parties must be notified of the request. Appointment of the emergency arbitrator allows the parties to be heard before the often lengthy process of composing an arbitral panel is completed. The emergency arbitrator retains jurisdiction over the dispute until an arbitrator or a panel is appointed. The emergency arbitrator’s order can be immediately enforced in court. For more information on JAMS emergency relief procedures, see Rule 2(c) Of the JAMS Comprehensive Rules and Procedures. https://www.jamsadr.com/files/Uploads/Documents/JAMS-Rules/JAMS_comprehensive_arbitration_rules-2014.pdf
- The American Arbitration Association also provides for emergency relief prior to the appointment of the arbitral panel. Rule 38 contemplates appointment of an emergency arbitrator, on an expedited basis, to consider and grant a request for temporary relief pending the appointment of the full tribunal. A single emergency arbitrator may be appointed within one business day of the request for emergency relief. As with most such rules, the party must explain why it seeks the requested relief and why it is needed on an emergency basis. For more information on AAA’s emergency relief procedures, see Rule 38 of the American Arbitration Association’s Rules. https://www.adr.org/aaa/ShowProperty?nodeId=/UCM/ADRSTG_004103
- The International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) provides for similar procedures for seeking emergency interim relief before the appointment of the arbitrator/tribunal. Upon application, an emergency arbitrator may be appointed within one business day and must establish a schedule for consideration of the emergency relief within two business days of appointment. For more information on ICDR’s emergency relief procedures, see Article 6 of the ICDR International Arbitration Rules. https://www.icdr.org/icdr/ShowProperty?nodeId=/UCM/ADRSTAGE2020868&revision=latestreleased
The benefit of this option to seek emergency relief in an arbitration without resorting to the court system is tremendous from the standpoint of time and costs savings, as it avoids the need to litigate simultaneously in multiple forums.