Despite one of the perceived advantages of arbitration being the absence of overly detailed rules and strictures, there is an increasing trend amongst the more well-known arbitration institutions to keep tweaking their rules with ever greater frequency. The ICC and LCIA are no exceptions and with a suspicious co-incidence of timing, both have recently announced updates. We summarise the key developments here.
The updates to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) Arbitration Rules do not radically overhaul the existing framework but nevertheless contain some notable changes. Amongst other things, the new rules embrace greater flexibility around the use of electronic communications and remote hearings, codifying a shift in approach which has already been imposed through necessity by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The LCIA’s updated rules came into force on – and apply to arbitrations commenced under LCIA rules on or after - 1 October 2020.
Notable changes include:
The LCIA has also made updates to its Mediation Rules, which came into force on 1 October 2020 and can be found here.
The ICC’s updated Arbitration Rules were released in draft form earlier this month. The new rules will come into force on 1 January 2021.
As with the LCIA rules, the ICC rule updates reflect the “new normal” of arbitration during a pandemic. The arbitrator is explicitly given the discretion, after consulting with the parties, to hold a hearing remotely by videoconference, telephone or other appropriate means. There has also been a shift away from filing of multiple hard copies.
Other changes include:
The current draft rules may be subject to editorial changes prior to their formal launch in December 2020.