After 579 days, 28 meetings, consultation of 12 interest groups within a reform commission of 263 members and the evaluation of more than 500 pages of suggestions for reform, the new DIS Arbitration Rules (2018 DIS Arbitration Rules) of the German Arbitration Institution (DIS) will enter into force on 1 March 2018, thus replacing the DIS Arbitration Rules of 1998.

The 2018 DIS Arbitration Rules will bring about significant innovations. In particular, they will improve procedural efficiency (eg by reducing the duration and costs of the arbitration) and increase the transparency and integrity of the arbitration. This introduction of a completely new set of rules responds to the increasing complexity of domestic and international disputes. Therefore, the new Rules include provisions on multi-contract and multi-party arbitrations, joinder of additional parties and consolidation of two or more arbitrations. A new body, the DIS Arbitration Council, will relieve the arbitral tribunal of certain administrative tasks in future. Finally, the 2018 DIS Arbitration Rules continue to promote amicable dispute settlement and will integrate the Dispute Management Rules into the Arbitration Rules.

Some of the most important changes at a glance:

1. Transfer of administrative competences to the DIS

  • Administration of deposits for fees and expenses of the arbitral tribunal (Art. 34 ff.).
  • Decisions on the challenge or removal of arbitrators (Articles 15.4 and 16.2).
  • Fixing the arbitrators’ fees in case of early termination.
  • Decisions on an increase of fees due to special complexity (Art. 34.4 and schedule for costs).
  • Review of the amount in dispute (Article 36.3).

2. Expedition of the constitution of the arbitral tribunal

  • Nomination of an arbitrator by the respondent no later than 21 days after the receipt of the request for arbitration (Article 7.1).
  • Reduction of the time limit for the nomination of the president from 30 to 21 days (Article 12.2).

3. Promotion of the use of sole arbitrators

  • 'Automatic' three-member tribunal only in case of a lack of a party agreement (Art. 10.2).

4. Provisions for complex disputes

  • Multi-party and multi-contract arbitrations (Articles 17-20).
  • Consolidation of two or more arbitrations (Art. 8).
  • Constitution of the arbitral tribunal in multi-party proceedings (Article 20).

5. Increasing procedural efficiency

  • Case management conference within 21 days after the constitution of the arbitral tribunal. The parties and the arbitral tribunal shall discuss which measures to increase procedural efficiency to apply, whether the expedited proceedings should be applied, and whether an amicable settlement of the dispute or individual issues can be achieved through an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. (Art 27).
  • Consideration of the efficient conduct of the arbitration by the parties in the decision concerning the costs of the arbitration (Art. 33.3).
  • Consideration of the efficient conduct of proceedings by the arbitral tribunal in determining the arbitrators’ fees after early termination of the arbitration (Article 34.4).

6. Sanctions by the DIS

  • Reduction of an arbitrator’s fees in the event of a delay in making the award (standard time limit: 3 months after the last submission or hearing) (Art. 37).

7. Increase of confidentiality

  • The strict confidentiality provision has been tightened (Article 44).

Closing remark

The reform commission for the 2018 DIS Arbitration Rules was composed of three committees consisting of a drafting committee (including partner Prof. Dr. Rolf Trittmann and Complex Disputes Project Manager Nina Das Gupta) and bringing together functionaries of the DIS, representatives of companies as well as national and international arbitration experts with an interest in modernizing the DIS Arbitration Rules.

The new 2018 Rules of Arbitration will enable a more efficient management of arbitrations and aim at clarifying complex issues. At the same time, the duration and costs of arbitration are reduced. Thus, the DIS provides a modern framework with innovative elements that will boost the significance of arbitration in Germany and worldwide.