The International Distribution Institute ("IDI") is a well-known association founded in 2004, which is active in the field of distribution law around the world. In cooperation with the Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution ("SCAI") and the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services of Geneva ("CCIG"), it created the IDI Arbitration Project ("IDArb") in 2016. The project’s aim is to facilitate arbitration for disputes in the field of international distribution (such as agency, distributorship, franchising, selective distribution).
Within a short period of time, IDArb has yielded results with the following two separate initiatives:
List of specialized arbitrators
IDArb has established and manages a list of arbitrators with specific experience in distribution matters. A committee assesses and selects the arbitrators. Gabrielle Nater-Bass, President of the SCAI Court of Arbitration, has just recently joined the Selecting Committee. The idea is that having an arbitrator who "knows the business" and who can place the dispute within its actual commercial framework is valuable to the parties and will often increase the chances of a fair and equitable award.
Tailor-made expedited procedure for distribution disputes based on Swiss Rules
For disputes arising out of distribution matters, the IDArb has established an expedited and cost-effective arbitration procedure, managed by SCAI under the Swiss Rules of International Arbitration ("Swiss Rules"). The proposed arbitration clause ("IDArb Expedited Arbitration Clause") is based on the standard clause under the Swiss Rules, together with a set of recommendations ("IDArb Recommendations") which aim to support the parties and the arbitrator to facilitate the expedited resolution of distribution disputes, i.e. within six months. Generally, the clause is meant for disputes not exceeding CHF 1'000'000, but it can also be chosen for disputes with higher amounts.
IDArb is a commendable project, as it aims at providing companies active in the field of distribution access not only to experienced arbitrators but also to a well-established dis-pute resolution system which allows for disputes to be resolved quickly.