ICC Court Adopts Guidance Note on Conflict Disclosures by Arbitrators
On 12 February 2016, Bureau of the ICC Court unanimously adopted the Guidance Note for the Disclosure of Conflicts by Arbitrators ("the Note"). The Note is aiming at ensuring that arbitrators are forthcoming and transparent in their disclosure of potential conflicts. The Note provides arbitrators with a non-exhaustive list of circumstances which parties may doubt an arbitrator's independence or impartiality. The Note, however, also makes it clear that a disclosure does not imply there exists a conflict of interest, besides, in the event of an objection or a challenge, it is at the Court's discretion as per causes for disqualification. But there are potential consequences in failing to disclose.
Similar to the International Bar Association's Guidelines on Conflicts of Interests in International Arbitration ("IBA's Guidelines"), the Note also recognizes the roles of third party funders. However, unlike the IBA's Guidelines, the ICC does not require a party to disclose the fact of any third party funding to the tribunal and other parties.
HKIAC Launches IP Arbitrator Panel
On 24 March 2016, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Center (HKIAC) announced to establish a new panel of arbitrators to hear intellectual property disputes ("the Panel"). The Panel currently includes 30 members who are leading experts with immense experience and expertise in handling intellectual property (IP) cases. The launch of the Panel coincides with the Hong Kong Government's proposed amendments to Hong Kong's arbitration ordinance which clarify that IP-related awards can be enforced without breaching public policy.
ICC Gets Green Light to Open Office in Shanghai
On 24 February 2016, the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) was granted a license to open a representative office in Shanghai's Free Trade Zone. Following the HKIAC and SIAC, ICC is the third foreign-based international arbitration institution to open a representative office in Mainland China.
Nauru Signs and Ratifies the ICSID Convention
On 12 April 2016, the Republic of Nauru signed the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (the "ICSID Convention"). Following the signing, Nauru's Instrument of Ratification of the Convention was deposited with the World Bank. In accordance with its Article 68(2), the ICSID Convention will enter into force for Nauru on 12 May 2016. After that, the number of signatory (8 states) and contracting states (153 states) of the Convention will be 161 in total.
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