The International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC Court) has announced important amendments to its Rules of Arbitration. The revised rules will apply from 1 March 1, 2017  in an effort to increase the efficiency and transparency of ICC arbitration procedures.

The most important innovation related to  the upcoming rules is the provision that "Expedited Procedure Rules" will automatically apply to all on-going arbitration procedures involving amounts in dispute below US$2 million, as well as  cases involving higher amounts on an opt-in basis.

In accordance with the Expedited Procedure Rules, the Secretariat, upon receipt of the Answer to the Request, upon expiry of the time limit for the Answer, or upon any relevant time thereafter, will inform the parties that the fast-track rules will apply to the case. [Article 1(3)] However, the Court may afterwards and under its scrutiny decide that said procedure shall no longer apply to the case. [Article 1(4)].

Notwithstanding any contrary provision to the arbitration agreement, the Court may appoint a sole arbitrator. The parties may also nominate the sole arbitrator within a time limit that will be fixed by the Secretariat. [Article 2(1,2)]

After the Arbitral Tribunal is constituted, there will be no Terms of Reference, and none of the parties shall make any claims, unless they have been authorized to do so by the Arbitral Tribunal itself. [Article 3(2)]. Additionally, the Arbitral Tribunal may, after consulting the parties, decide to prohibit requests for document production or to limit the number, length and scope of written submissions and written witness evidence (facts and experts). [Article 3(4)]. The Arbitral Tribunal may also decide the dispute solely on the basis of the documents submitted by the parties, with no hearing and no examination of witness or experts. [Article 3(5)].

In respect to the award, it must be rendered within six months from the date of the case management conference. However, the Court may extend the time limit pursuant to the ICC Rules provisions. [Article 4(1)] Concerning the fees, it is important to highlight that they will be significantly reduced in this procedure, in accordance with the scales of administrative expenses and arbitrator's fees set out in Appendix III of the Rules [Article 4(2)].

Finally, the parties have the option to exclude the application of the Expedited Procedure Provisions by adding such faculty to the arbitration clause.

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This article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed herein.