On 1 January 2018, New Rules of Arbitration entered into force for commercial arbitration proceedings before the Court of International Commercial Arbitration attached to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania (CCIR), the main arbitral institution in Romania The aim of the New Rules is to improve the functioning of commercial arbitration proceedings.
The New Rules comply with the applicable legal provisions of the new Romanian Civil and Civil Procedure Codes, and are aligned with the arbitration rules of the main arbitral institutions in the European Union and of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).
Unless stated otherwise in an arbitration clause, the New Rules apply to all disputes submitted to CCIR as of 1 January 2018.
The New Rules provide for a more modern approach; allowing the arbitrators and the parties to take certain measures that were not sufficiently determined by the previous arbitration rules. For example:
- the parties and the arbitrators have the possibility to modify the general court and arbitration procedural rules, by shortening or increasing the time limits set out in the rules, based on the complexity of the claim implementation (the principle of procedural autonomy);
- the parties have the right to opt for an expedited procedure;
- the parties have the right to request interim or conservatory measures from an emergency arbitrator;
- the arbitrators have the possibility to issue partial arbitral awards or to accept a request for joinder of additional parties or to decide the case solely on the documents submitted by the parties unless any of the parties request a hearing;
- the arbitrators can reduce the time allocated to the analysis of the evidence or to apply the Rules on Taking Evidence in International Arbitration, issued by the International Bar Association;
- the parties are allowed to present written witness testimonies, authenticated by a notary or certified by an attorney;
- the arbitrators are explicitly allowed to conduct the hearings by means of distance communication.
The New Rules aim to speed up arbitration proceedings, to increase the flexibility and effectiveness of CCIR's activity and to optimise the quality of arbitration proceedings. The New Rules also align the practice of CCIR to other international arbitral institutions.
It is still too early to see how efficient the New Rules will prove to be. We estimate that many issues will definitely arise during the application of the new procedures. These will have to be settled by case-law and taking into account the more general procedural rules, such as the Romanian Civil Procedure Code which is applicable for all arbitration proceedings with seat in Romania.