The International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC Court) has announced important amendments to the ICC Rules of Arbitration (Rules) with the aim of further increasing the efficiency and transparency of ICC arbitrations.

The revised rules will apply from 1 March 2017. They provide that expedited procedure rules will automatically apply to all arbitrations with amounts in dispute below US$2 million and to cases involving higher amounts on an opt-in basis

Features of the Expedited Rules

Under the Expedited Procedure Rules, the ICC Court will normally appoint a sole arbitrator, irrespective of any contrary term of the arbitration agreement. Awards must be made in six months from the case management conference, with extensions granted only in limited and justified circumstances.

Under the Rules there will be no Terms of Reference and the tribunal will have discretion to decide the case on documents only, with no hearing, no requests to produce documents and no examination of witnesses. The quality control on awards – performed by the ICC Court and its Secretariat through the scrutiny of the award – will however be maintained at its long-established highest level. Finally, a scale providing for significantly reduced fees will apply under the Expedited Procedure Rules.

ICC Court President Alexis Mourre said: ” This is an entirely new offer to our users. Disputes will now be resolved on a very expeditious and cost-effective manner, providing an effective answer to the legitimate concerns of the business community as to time and costs. These new rules will not only be effective for disputes of a limited value, but also for larger cases if the parties so agree. “

Streamlining Procedure

Reflecting a string of new measures and amendments to ICC practice notes introduced in 2016, the world’s leading arbitral institution has also introduced a number of other changes to its Rules. They comprise a cutback, from two months to one month, of the time-limit for the establishment of Terms of Reference, in order to streamline the initial phases of the proceedings.

The Rules have also been amended to the effect of allowing the ICC Court to provide reasons for its decisions made on challenges, as well as for other decisions, such as prima facie jurisdictional decisions and consolidations, without having to seek consent of all parties, as under the previous Rules.

Mr Mourre said: ” Any party will now be in a position to ask the ICC Court to provide reasons for its decisions. This is an increased measure of transparency and accountability to our users. ”

The amendments to the Rules were proposed in May by the ICC Court and the Governing Body for Dispute Resolution Services, laid before the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR at its Washington session on 17 September 2016, and finally approved by the ICC Executive Board in Bangkok on 20 October 2016.

A PDF copy of the updated rules can be downloaded here .