INTRODUCTION

As we reported recently,  the Japan Commercial  Arbitration Association (JCAA) published new  Commercial Arbitration Rules earlier this year. The new JCAA Rules apply to all arbitrations  commenced on or after 1 February 2014.

This note compares the new JCAA Rules to the latest rules of three other major institutions popular  with parties in  Asia: SIAC (the Singapore International Arbitration Centre), HKIAC (the Hong Kong  International Arbitration Centre), and the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce):

  1. SIAC Rules (5th edition, 1 April 2013);
  2. HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules (2013); and
  3. ICC Arbitration Rules (2012).

The new JCAA Rules include a number of provisions intended to bring the Rules up-to-date with  revisions to the rules of other institutions. It is hoped that the revised Rules will attract more  parties to arbitrate in Japan. more parties to arbitrate in Japan.

SUMMARY

This summary table highlights the extent to which the new JCAA Rules are in line with recent trends in international arbitration and the adoption of modern procedures by major institutions in Asia.

In particular, the new JCAA Rules now include provisions dealing with multi-party and/or multi-contract arbitrations, the appointment of emergency arbitrators in cases requiring urgent interim relief, and the use of expedited procedures in low value and/or limited complexity cases.

DISTINGUISHING FEATURES

While the above table demonstrates the broad uniformity across the rules of the major institutions  on issues such as multi-party arbitration and the appointment of emergency arbitrators, there  remain differences between the procedures of  the  main  institutions.     In  particular,  the   distinguishing features of JCAA arbitration include:

  1. the option to use 'med-arb' procedures – i.e. mediation of a dispute subject to arbitration proceedings with the same person appointed as both mediator and  arbitrator;
  2. no Terms of Reference stage (in contrast to the ICC Rules);
  3. no provision for scrutiny of draft awards (in contrast to the ICC Rules and the SIAC Rules);  and
  4. a comparatively limited panel of arbitrators, which is considered by some in the Tokyo market  to be relatively domestic and opaque in its constitution.

A detailed comparison and further commentary on the rules of each institution is set out below.

Click here to view the table.