With the main objective of making arbitration accessible and easy to understand for international users, the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (the SCC Institute) adopted new institutional rules effective from 1 January 2007. The new rules will apply to any arbitration under the SCC Rules commenced on or after 1 January 2007, unless otherwise agreed by the parties.
The revision is generally aimed at improving clarity of the law and language, and there are no particularly controversial provisions. Whilst the new SCC Rules do not deviate substantially from the former rules of 1999, there are some particular changes worth mentioning:
The appointment of arbitrators
The previous SCC Rules on the appointment of arbitrators allowed for party autonomy in the appointment proceedings. This was not, however, expressly stated in the rules. The new rules expressly provide that the parties may agree on a different procedure for appointing the Arbitral Tribunal than the one set out in the rules, provided that the appointment procedure chosen by the parties is in accordance with the notions of due process.
The provisions on evidence have been redrafted in line with the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. The new article expressly provides that the Arbitral Tribunal may determine the admissibility, relevance, materiality and weight of the evidence. The new provision is in accordance with international standards and it is hoped the language will facilitate the use of the SCC Rules in international arbitrations.
Consolidation of arbitral proceedings
A third substantive change is the provision on consolidation.
The number of disputes involving multiple parties and contracts has increased and the need for a provision on consolidation in the SCC Rules has, therefore, increased accordingly. The new provision enables the Board of the SCC Institute, on request of one of the parties, to consolidate arbitral proceedings pending under the SCC Rules providing the proceedings concern the same issues and parties.
The article on interim measures in the UNCITRAL Model Law on Arbitration was recently amended and the new provision in the SCC Rules has been revised in accordance with the international standard set by the Model Law. The new provision aims to facilitate the enforceability of a decision on interim measures and the Arbitral Tribunal now has the power to grant an interim measure either in the form of an order or in the form of an award.
Whilst the SCC Rules have not been fundamentally revised, various clarifications – particularly valuable for international arbitrations – have been made and it is clear that the revision brings the SCC Rules more up-to-date with the latest development in international commercial arbitration.