Expedited Arbitration is an arbitral mechanism that provides for fast and efficient resolution of certain arbitral disputes.
This article briefly examines the institutional rules of:
We have also developed a comparative table of the Expedited Procedure provisions of the above institutions, which is available for download here.
There are a range of subtle differences that exist between the different institutional rules.
According to the 2017 ICC Rules of Arbitration, the Expedited Procedure will automatically apply to all arbitration agreements which were signed on, or after, 1 March 2017 if one of two criteria are satisfied, and irrespective of whether or not contrary terms are present in the arbitration agreement.
The first of these criteria is where the amount in dispute is less than US$2m. The second is where, irrespective of the amount in dispute, the parties opt in. Clauses such as the latter further enhance the already significant level of party autonomy and control present in arbitration.
Instances where the mechanism is not applicable include:
arbitration agreements which were concluded before 1 March 2017, where the parties have agreed to opt out; or
where the ICC Court determines that Expedited Procedure is ‘inappropriate in the circumstances’. It is noted that the ICC Court may, at any time, exercise its discretion to abandon the mechanism either of its own volition, or in response to a request from a party. 
ACICA, HKIAC, and SIAC take a different approach to the engagement criteria in the ICC Rules. First, each have an amount in dispute threshold which is significantly higher than what the ICC has prescribed in its rules – ACICA (AUD$5m), HKIAC (HKD$25m), and SIAC (S$6m). Second, they all include a third route – where parties are able to demonstrate a case of ‘exceptional urgency’. 
Of all the institutions covered in this article, CIETAC has the most restrictive threshold (RMB$5m), and like the ICC Rules it does not include the criterion of ‘exceptional urgency’. It is worth highlighting that CIETAC has adopted the term ‘Summary Procedure’ in place of the more commonly used term ‘Expedited Procedure’. The AIAC refers to its Expedited Procedure provisions as ‘Fast Track Arbitration Rules’, and the only criteria is where parties have agreed to refer to arbitration, whether before or after the dispute. 
As CIETAC and ICC have a more restrictive threshold, this naturally leads to the situation where less arbitrations automatically proceed via the Expedited Procedure route. SIAC changed its monetary threshold from SGD$5m to SGD$6m to allow more parties to make use of this mechanism. It will be interesting to see if the ICC or CIETAC follow suit in future revisions to their arbitration rules.
Interestingly, each institution has also situated Expedited Procedure provisions among its respective standard arbitration rules. Most institutions embed provisions within the main arbitration rules (as a standalone clause or via an appendix). ACICA and KLRCA both consider them as a separate set of rules. While ACICA has incorporated the rules into the same document, the AIAC’s Fast Track Arbitration Rules are an entirely separate document (effective as of 9 March 2018). As AIAC also published a revised version of its standard arbitration rules on the same date, it remains surprising that the two sets were not amalgamated. This may end up being the new approach – something we may see when the HKIAC publishes its latest rules, likely towards the end of 2018.
Although international arbitration is generally regarded as a highly efficient method of dispute resolution, Expedited Arbitration imposes stricter deadlines on parties, institutions, and tribunals, further enhancing the speed at which disputes can be resolved.
Arbitral institutions promote Expedited Procedure as a solution to party complaints regarding delays and excessive costs. It is also beneficial to SMEs who often cannot justify the expenses associated with a standard arbitration.
As with Emergency Arbitration, the tribunal is faced with a two competing tensions – the urgency of delivering an award, and allowing a party sufficient time to present its case. Recently, institutions have tended to recognise that urgency is often more important to parties, and as a result have abbreviated certain time limits. Some of these include:
The overall benefit (from an efficiency/speed perspective) of proceeding with a sole arbitrator in simple cases, cannot be overstated. As there are less parties to consult, hearings dates can be agreed to promptly and there is no need to consult with other tribunal members during the arbitration regarding procedural issues, nor is there a need to discuss, or draft, a joint award with other tribunal members. This ensures that the final award may be delivered promptly. However, a sole arbitrator may not be suitable where disputes are highly complex and require the expertise of a panel of three or more arbitrators.
Expedited Procedure often allows for extensions of time limits, which assist where deadlines cannot realistically be met by parties or the arbitral tribunal, particularly in complex disputes.
This then raises the question: how is Expedited Procedure any different to a standard arbitration if such extensions are granted?
Expedited Procedure is being utilised at an entirely different rate across arbitral institutions:
Expedited Arbitration may automatically apply to your dispute. If your dispute value is higher than the prescribed threshold, you may still be able to agree to proceed with this mechanism.
Expedited Procedure is most suited to parties primarily concerned with the duration and costs associated with resolving their disputes as expedited arbitration will, largely, relieve these concerns. However, parties seeking immediate interim relief should opt for emergency arbitration. Refer to our Emergency Arbitrator Provisions.
Ultimately, parties must be aware that these arbitral mechanisms, along with others such as Early Dismissal of Claims and Defences and the proposed Early Determination Procedure serve an entirely different purpose. Expedited Procedure may not be suitable to your dispute. Parties must seek proper legal advice to accommodate the specific nature of each case.
The Corrs Chambers Westgarth International Arbitration team has prepared an Asia Pacific Guide on Expedited Procedure Provisions (2018–19), covering the following rules:
Download a copy here, or click the 'Download' button at the top of this page.
 Article 30.2, 2017 ICC Rules of Arbitration.
 Article 30.1, 2017 ICC Rules of Arbitration.
 Article 30.2(a), 2017 ICC Rules of Arbitration.
·  Appendix VI, Article 1.4, 2017 ICC Rules of Arbitration.
 Article 11.1, ACICA 2016 Arbitration Rules.
 Article 4(1), 2013 KLRCA Fast Track Arbitration Rules.
 Mean quoted.
 These figures only take into account the arbitral tribunal’s fee as well as HKIAC’s registration fee and administrative fee.
 Mean quoted.
The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.