As arbitration proceedings have become more complex, there has been a concern that the time taken and cost of resolving them has increased dramatically. The ICC Commission on Arbitration's recent report "Techniques for Controlling Time and Cost in Arbitration" seeks to address this by setting out various techniques designed to minimise cost and delay during the arbitration process.

These techniques include simplifying arbitration agreements and using time limits for the rendering of an award, holding an early case management conference, using telephone and video conferences and the promotion of settlement by the tribunal. The report also highlights the importance of identifying the issues at an early stage in order to focus submissions and disclosure, and limit the number of witnesses required and the scope of their evidence. The report recommends that consideration be given to detailed written submissions at an early stage to achieve this.

The techniques are not binding on any tribunal, and do not form part of the ICC Rules. They do, however, have the full endorsement of the ICC Court and provide useful guidance. Many of these techniques are already incorporated into the Herbert Smith arbitration practice and are regularly used. We will continue to adopt them wherever possible and appropriate.

The full text of the report is available here.