The LCIA has released new LCIA arbitration rules for the first time in 15 years. These rules took effect in October 2014. Many of these amendments serve to  bring the LCIA rules fully up to date with the revisions and updates that other international  arbitral institutions, such as the ICC have implemented in recent years.

Generally, the key amendments address a few common issues focussing on a shortening of the  timetable and speeding up the procedure. The key amendments are summarised briefly below:

Speed and procedure

Article 14.1 - The Tribunal must meet to discuss the conduct of the proceedings no later than 21  days after notification that the Tribunal has been constituted.

Article 15.10 - The arbitral Tribunal should render the award “as soon as responsibly possible”.  The Tribunal should set a timetable for this purpose and notify the parties and the registrar.

In general the timings and the rules have been slightly shortened and periods of time which  previously ran for 30 days are now 28 days. By way of example, article 2.1 provides that the Response is due after 28 days not 30 days.

Article 5.4 - The arbitral candidate shall sign a written declaration stating that they are “ready,  willing and able to devote sufficient time, diligence and industry to ensure the expeditious  conduct of the arbitration”.

Formation of the tribunal

Article 5.8 allows the LCIA Court to appoint a Tribunal of more than three arbitrators in  exceptional circumstances.

Article 7.3, the parties agree that no party can nominate a sole arbitrator or chairman.

Emergency relief

The parties are now able to apply to the LCIA for the urgent appointment of a sole arbitrator under  Article 9b. The emergency arbitrator shall decide the claim no later than 20 days following their  appointment under Article 9.7. The arbitrator is not required to hold a hearing but may decide the  emergency relief on any available documentation. It should be noted that this provision is only  available in exceptional circumstances.

Default seat

The parties are still free to choose the seat of the  arbitration and there has been no change to  the default seat in the absence of agreement by the parties, which remains London, England.  However, in the absence of choice the default seat will now apply up to and until the formation of  the Tribunal, thereafter the Tribunal may order that a different seat is more appropriate after  seeking written submissions from the parties (Article 16.2).

Conduct of legal representative and parties

The new rules contain a number of provisions and  amendments relating to the conduct of legal representatives.

Under Article 18.3 the parties must now notify all other parties if there are any changes or  additions to their legal representatives and any such changes are conditional upon the Tribunal’s  approval. Article 18.4 states that the Tribunal may withhold approval where any such change could  compromise the composition of the arbitral Tribunal or the finality of any award.

General Conduct Guidelines that will apply to all legal representatives appearing before the  Tribunal are contained  in an Annex to the draft rules. The Tribunal has powers to rule on whether  or not the guidelines have been violated and has an express power to take the parties conduct into  account when awarding costs under Article 28.4.

In general the amendments to the LCIA Rules are welcomed due to their emphasis on promoting  procedural efficiently and improving the conduct of the parties for better handling of complex commercial disputes.