On 19 December 2017, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) announced its proposal on a new protocol that consolidates compatible international arbitration proceedings subject to different institutional arbitration rules.
Under existing institutional rules, the consolidation of arbitral proceedings is only possible where the parties’ arbitration agreements are compatible and the same institutional rules have been incorporated.
The implementation of the proposed protocol is revolutionary as it would allow related disputes subject to different institutional proceedings (and different institutional arbitration rules) to be resolved in a single proceeding, thereby promoting consistency in the decision-making process, and resulting in cost and time savings for parties.
Cross-institution consolidation, SIAC says, would “facilitate the efficient and enforceable resolution of international commercial disputes, which will lead to significant gains for parties”.
Leading arbitral institutions can adopt SIAC’s proposed cross-institution consolidation protocol, and incorporate it into their own institutional arbitration rules. The consolidation protocol would be the standalone mechanism for addressing the timing of a consolidation application, the appropriate decision-maker and the applicable criteria to determine when arbitral proceedings are sufficiently related to warrant cross-institution consolidation.
Once consolidated, the proceedings would be administered only by one institution applying its own institutional rules. By adopting such rules in their arbitration agreements, parties would, in turn, give the protocol the same contractual force as other provisions of the institutional rules.