The Launch of the 2021 ICC Rules of Arbitration

International Arbitration Insight

On 1 January 2021, nine years after the last major overhaul of the ICC Rules of Arbitration and less than four years after a very limited revision of these Rules in 2017, a new version of the ICC Rules of Arbitration will come into force. While the 2021 ICC Rules contain a rather limited number of changes compared to the 2012 and 2017 predecessor versions, some of those changes are particularly significant. The 2021 ICC Rules will apply to all new ICC cases commenced as of 1 January 2021, regardless of the date of the arbitration agreement under which the arbitration is brought.

The 2021 ICC Rules were officially launched on 1 December 2020. Although the ICC Court of Arbitration is headquartered in Paris as part of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), it acts as a global institution nowadays with offices in Hong Kong, New York, São Paulo, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. By periodically revising its Rules of Arbitration, The ICC Court can best ensure that it will remain the leading institution for dispute resolution the world over. As of July 2021, the ICC Court will be presided by an American lawyer, since Claudia Salomon, a current vice-president of the ICC Court, has been designated as the ICC Court’s next president, the first woman ever to serve in that function.

The outgoing president of the ICC Court, Alexis Mourre from France, has described the amendments to the 2021 ICC Rules as “a further step towards greater efficiency, flexibility and transparency of the Rules, making ICC Arbitration even more attractive, both for large, complex arbitrations and for smaller cases.” Indeed, these worthy objectives account for many of the welcome small revisions that incorporate existing practices proven to be efficient (such as, amendments that prioritize electronic submissions and recognize the utility of remote hearings). The ICC’s objectives are also exemplified by six notable changes contained in the new Rules, which we discuss in the article linked below.