The London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), one of the
world’s leading international arbitration institutions,
recently adopted a new set of arbitration rules, which will come
into force on October 1, 2014. The new rules revise and update the
previous version of the LCIA Arbitration Rules which have been in
effect since 1998, and are intended to better align the rules with
modern arbitral practice, and to promote a speedy, efficient, and
fair arbitral process.
Although the previous version of the LCIA Arbitration Rules was
popular, the practice of international arbitration has evolved
since it came into force. International commercial disputes have
become substantially more complex, and a view developed that the
LCIA Arbitration Rules needed to be modernized. This perception
became all the more pronounced when other well-known sets of
arbitration rules were revised in recent years, including the
UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules in 2010 and the ICC Arbitration Rules in
2012, among others.
Some of the more significant changes to the LCIA Arbitration
New Rules for a More Efficient and Speedy
Arbitration: A substantial number of new provisions have
been inserted into the LCIA Arbitration Rules to pressure and
incentivize arbitrators, the parties, and their legal
representatives to conclude arbitrations as efficiently and swiftly
as possible. A number of new procedural rules have also been put
into place to speed-up arbitration proceedings.
New “Emergency Arbitrator”
Process: A new procedure has been introduced into the LCIA
Arbitration Rules to allow parties to a dispute to apply to the
LCIA for the appointment of an “emergency arbitrator”
prior to the constitution of a tribunal to conduct emergency
proceedings. This enables a party to obtain urgent interim relief
(such as the preservation of an asset) prior to the constitution of
a full tribunal without having to resort to local courts.
New Code of Conduct for Legal Counsel in LCIA
Proceedings: The new LCIA Arbitration Rules have attempted
to resolve an ongoing debate among arbitration practitioners
regarding whether a professional code of conduct should be
developed for lawyers practicing international arbitration. The new
rules introduce “General Guidelines for the Parties’
Legal Representatives” which attempt to set out ethical
guidelines for legal representatives involved in LCIA arbitrations,
and LCIA tribunals are now empowered to enforce those guidelines
and sanction lawyers directly in the event they fail to follow
New Rules Facilitating Consolidation of Multiple
Arbitrations: The 1998 version of the LCIA Arbitration
Rules was silent on whether multiple arbitrations could be
consolidated. The new rules include detailed provisions allowing
for the consolidation of arbitrations where (i) all the parties to
the arbitrations have agreed to consolidation, and (ii) multiple
arbitrations have been commenced under the same agreement or under
compatible agreements between the same parties.
As the new rules come into force, it will be interesting to see
whether and to what extent LCIA arbitrations improve and
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