The International Chamber of Commerce (the “ICC”) and the United States Council for International Business (the “USCIB”) held an event on January 18, 2017, at the New York office of Baker & McKenzie LLP. Alexis Mourre, President of the ICC International Court of Arbitration (the “Court”), discussed recent developments at the Court, such as amendments to the ICC Rules of Arbitration. The Amendments have been made to increase the efficiency and transparency of ICC arbitrations. The revised rules will begin to apply on March 1, 2017. They provide for expedited procedures for arbitrations with amounts in dispute below US$2 million, though parties to cases of higher value may opt-in.

Under the Expedited Procedure Rules, Appendix VI to the ICC Rules (“EPR”), the ICC Court may appoint a sole arbitrator, notwithstanding a contrary provision in the arbitration agreement (EPR, Article 2(1)). The final award must be made six months from the date of the initial case conference, with limited extensions available (EPR, Article 4(1)). There will be no Terms of Reference (EPR, Article 2(1)) and the tribunal may, after consultation with the parties, decide the case on documents only, with no hearing or witness examination (EPR, Article 3(5)). The tribunal will also have discretion, after consultation with the parties, not to allow requests for document production and to limit the number and scope of written submissions, including fact and expert witness evidence (EPR, Article 3(4)).

Also on hand from the ICC were Andrea Carlevaris, Secretary General of the Court, and Rocio Digón, Managing Director of SICANA, who provided the 2016 figures for cases filed with the Court and information pertaining to US-based arbitrations.

The 2016 numbers, as reported:

966 new cases administered by the ICC were filed, an increase from 801 in 2015.

3,099 parties participated in ICC arbitrations in 2016, compared to 2,283 in 2015.

There was a 15% increase in the number of parties from Latin America. Participation from Brazil (123), Mexico (105), and Peru (28) all increased from the previous year.

2016 also saw a 22% increase in parties from South and East Asia, with Korea (82) leading the field.

There was about a 50% increase in the number of parties participating in ICC arbitration in North and Sub-Saharan Africa, with Nigeria (30) and Turkey (76) making records.

The ICC will publish a full statistical report in the first quarter of 2017 providing further insight into ICC arbitration and its users.

Peter Robinson, President and CEO of USCIB, announced the appointment of Grant Hanessian, (Baker & McKenzie), to Chair the USCIB Arbitration Committee, which is the U.S. National Committee of the ICC Court. Robinson also thanked outgoing Committee Chair Mark Beckett (Cooley LLP) for his many years of service and leadership to the Committee. Both Mr. Hanessian and Mr. Beckett spoke to the audience about the work of the USCIB, both past and future.

The event also served as the launch of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR’s Report on Financial Institutions and International Arbitration (the “Report”). The Report is an analysis of twelve topics related to banking and finance based on information gleaned from a survey of financial institutions. It was created by a task force co-chaired by Claudia T. Salomon (Latham & Watkins LLP) and Georges Affaki (Affaki Avocats), and made up of a distinguished group of practitioners and industry-specialists. At the event, Claudia Solomon introduced the Report, and offered a general overview of the topics discussed. Task force members Edward Turan (Citigroup), Daniel Schimmel (Foley Hoag), Samaa Haridi (Hogan Lovells), and Mr. Hanessian each discussed the specific sub-group they led or in which they participated. Mr. Hanessian noted that a significant amount of work went into the drafting of the Report, and that the Report is only a summary of the findings and in-depth analysis actually developed by each sub-group. Though no date has been announced for its release, the more comprehensive Report will be made publicly available.

As reported by the ICC:

ICC Commission’s latest Report on Financial Institutions and International Arbitration reflects financial institutions’ perceptions and experience of international arbitration. Arbitration, with its flexibility and worldwide enforcement, has the potential to become the preferred dispute resolution method for the world’s corporate and investment banks. This one-of-a-kind interdisciplinary Report addresses the potential benefits of international commercial arbitration in banking and financial matters and some common misperceptions about the process. It concludes with a series of detailed recommendations for tailoring the arbitration procedure to suit the needs of the banking and finance sectors.

The report offers an analytical survey of arbitration in twelve banking and financial sectors and products spanning all CIB financing, capital markets, asset management and advisory mandate fields. It is the linchpin of a new approach to dispute risk management in international banking and finance. The Report does not seek to establish rules or guidelines, but provides practical information which will be of assistance to arbitrators, counsel and parties. The program for the launch event will feature presentations given by members of the ICC Commission, Secretariat and the Task Force that produced the report.

The event provided a positive outlook for international arbitration looking ahead for 2017, as the ICC announced its increased case-load and amended rules, the USCIB Arbitration Committee welcomed a new chairperson in Mr. Hanessian, and the ICC Commission presented a very useful and industry-specific Report.