Recent amendments to both the ICC Rules and the ACICA Rules indicate a trend towards improving the attractiveness of international arbitration as a means of resolving cross border disputes. We predict the trend in modernising international arbitration practice and procedure will continue as parties seek out the most time efficient and cost effective means of resolving cross boarder disputes.
On 12 September 2011, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) launched a revised version of its Rules of Arbitration (ICC Rules) which will come into force on 1 January 2012.
The stated aim of the amendments to the ICC Rules is to allow for recent developments in arbitration practice and procedures as well as the significant developments in information technology since the rules were last revised in 1988.
The new amendments can also be seen as addressing some of the perceived shortcomings of international arbitration process. One example is the cost effectiveness and efficiency of such a process in circumstances where parties are geographically isolated. The amended ICC Rules address this by allowing for the use of videoconferencing, meaning (where appropriate) parties will not be required to attend the same location for the arbitration to take place.
Upon their commencement next year, the amended ICC Rules will also allow for disputes involving for multiple parties and multiple contracts; the appointment of an emergency arbitrator to order urgent measures; updated case management procedures, as well as a number of other changes to better facilitate the handling of disputes arising under investment treaties and free trade agreements.
Closer to home, the Australian Centre for International Arbitration (ACICA) has also revised and updated the ACICA Arbitration Rules, in response to the Australian Government’s recent decision to appoint it as the default appointing authority under the new International Arbitration Act.
Consistent with the amendments to the ICC Rules, the updated ACICA Arbitration Rules also contains “emergency arbitrator” provisions which allow parties to seek emergency interim measures from an emergency arbitrator prior to the arbitral tribunal being established.
In addition, ACICA has also published the Appointment of Arbitrators Rules 2011 to provide a more streamlined process for parties seeking to appoint an arbitrator to a dispute seated in Australia. The changes to the ACICA Arbitration Rules can only reinforce Australia’s growing reputation as an attractive destination in which to resolve international disputes.
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