Germany: Revision Of The DIS Arbitration Rules

 The German Institution of Arbitration (Deutsche Institution für Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit, or "DIS") has revised its Arbitration Rules ("Rules"). The new Rules came into effect on 1 March 2018 and replace the 1998 DIS Rules. The revision introduces major changes to the existing arbitral procedure under the DIS Rules and is the result of an extensive consultation process which lasted for almost two years.

This first revision in twenty years aims to modernize the DIS Rules and bring them into line with current best practices in international arbitration. The revision focusses on institutional changes, as well as the need for increased time- and cost-efficiency in arbitration proceedings. The new Rules are published in German and will also be published in English to reflect the growing international outlook of the DIS. At the same time, the DIS has deliberately chosen to maintain certain core elements of its Rules that are associated with civil law proceedings.

The revised Rules will apply to both domestic and international proceedings (Article 1.1) which are commenced on or after 1 March 2018 (Article 1.2).

Key amendments in the new Rules are discussed below. A non-final version of the full English text of the Rules can be found here.

I. Amendments to Increase Efficiency of the Arbitration Proceedings

One particular focus of the revised Rules is to increase the efficiency of DIS arbitrations. The theme of efficiency is contained in Article 2.1, which refers to the DIS providing support to the parties and the arbitral tribunal "for the efficient conduct of the arbitration," and Article 27.1, which explicitly stresses that "[t]he arbitral tribunal and the parties shall conduct the proceedings in an efficient manner taking into account the complexity and economic importance of the dispute."

Shortened Deadlines

In order to promote time efficiency, the deadlines for the initiation of the proceedings and the constitution of the arbitral tribunal have been shortened. Thus, to allow for a quicker constitution of the tribunal, Article 7 stipulates that the respondent shall notify the nomination of its arbitrator (if required under the Rules) in writing to the DIS within 21 days (compared to 30 days under the 1998 DIS Rules) after receipt of the claimant's Request for Arbitration. The respondent's Answer to the Request for Arbitration (and its counterclaims, if any) shall be filed within 45 days after receipt of the Request for Arbitration (Article 7.2). By contrast, the previous DIS Rules did not contain any firm deadlines for the submission of the Answer, which were instead to be determined by the arbitral tribunal after its constitution.

Similarly, where there is a three-member tribunal, the co-arbitrators must jointly nominate the president of the arbitral tribunal within 21 days (compared to 30 days under the 1998 DIS Rules) after being requested to do so by the DIS (Article 12.2).

The revised rules also set an indicative time limit for the rendering of the award. Thus, while the 1998 DIS Rules only required an award "within a reasonable period of time," Article 37 now requires the arbitral tribunal to finalize the draft award "in principle within three months after the last hearing or the last authorized Submission." If the time taken by the arbitral tribunal to issue its final award is unreasonably long, the Arbitration Council of the DIS (which is discussed below), at its discretion, can reduce the fee of one or more arbitrators, thus creating a monetary incentive for arbitrators to issue awards in a timely manner.

Case Management Conference

Similar to the current ICC Rules, the revised Rules now explicitly require the arbitral tribunal and the parties to hold an early case management conference (Article 27.2). The revised Rules clarify that the arbitral tribunal should convene the case management conference "as soon as possible after its constitution, in principle within 21 days," and that, in addition to the parties' outside counsel (where applicable), the parties themselves should participate in person or with an in-house representative. Moreover, the revised Rules go further than, for example, the ICC Rules in that they set forth a specific agenda to be discussed at the case management conference (Article 27.4). The tribunal is required to discuss with the parties:

  • The procedural rules to be applied in the proceedings as well as the procedural timetable.
  • Each of the measures set forth in Annex 3 of the Rules (Measures for Increasing Procedural Efficiency) in order to determine whether any of them should be applied.

This includes, for example, the requirement to discuss with the parties whether document production by the party that does not carry the burden of proof should be excluded or at least limited. While this feature may appear unusual to a common law practitioner, it reflects the generally more restrictive approach to document disclosure taken by most civil law jurisdictions. Another distinctive civil law feature to be discussed at the case management conference is the possibility for the tribunal to give a preliminary factual or legal assessment of the case, if none of the parties objects. The purpose of such an assessment is to encourage the streamlining of the proceedings and encourage settlement discussions. Other measures to be discussed include, for example, the rendering of partial awards or decisions and limiting the length of submissions or potential witness statements and expert reports.

  • The provisions of Annex 4 (Expedited Proceedings) in order to determine whether they should be applied. Under the provisions for expedited proceedings, the final award shall be made at the latest six months after the conclusion of the case management conference (Article 1 of Annex 4). In addition to the Request for Arbitration and the Answer to the Request, each party will be allowed to file only one further written submission (Article 3 of Annex 4).
  • The possibility of using mediation or any other method of alternative dispute resolution to seek amicable settlement of the dispute or of individual disputed issues.
  • Whether experts should be used and if so, how the expert procedure can be efficiently conducted (Article 27.7).

Number and Form of Submissions

Under the 1998 DIS Rules, unlike the rules of many other institutions, introductory submissions such as the Request for Arbitration and Answer to the Request were not required. Instead, the arbitration commenced with the first main submission by the claimant (comparable to the Statement of Claim under many other rules) and often there were only two rounds of submissions (e.g., Statement of Claim, Statement of Defense, Statement of Reply, Statement of Rejoinder in case there are no counterclaims).

While the revised Rules do not explicitly provide for a specific number of submissions, the non-final English version of the revised Rules refers to the initial submission by the claimant as "Request for Arbitration" and to the initial submission by the respondent as "Answer to Request for Arbitration." This appears to suggest a three-round system similar to, for example, the procedure often followed under the ICC Rules. However, the German version of the new Rules still refers to the initial submission by the claimant as "Schiedsklage" (Statement of Claim) and to the initial submission by the respondent as "Klageerwiderung" (Statement of Defense). It therefore remains to be seen if tribunals and parties will take this as a suggestion to continue to generally limit the number of main submissions by the parties to two rounds as under the previous Rules. In any case, as previously, the number of submissions is subject to party agreement and will vary between cases.

The revised Rules also require the parties and the arbitral tribunal to send their submissions to the DIS solely in electronic form, either by email, on a portable storage device or by any other means of electronic transmission that have been authorized by the DIS (Article 4.1). In addition, the parties are required to send certain submissions – for example, Requests for Arbitration, counterclaims, additional claims prior to the constitution of the arbitral tribunal – also in paper form. The new Rules further clarify that the arbitral tribunal determines the form of the submissions between the parties and the arbitral tribunal (Article 4.4).

Number of Tribunal Members

Under the revised Rules, the arbitral tribunal will no longer automatically be comprised of three arbitrators if the parties have not agreed upon the number of arbitrators. Instead, any party can submit a request to the DIS that the arbitral tribunal be comprised of a sole arbitrator (Article 10.2).1 This amendment is meant to increase the number of sole arbitrators.

Financial Incentives to Increase Efficiency

The revised Rules also contain financial incentives to conduct the proceedings in an efficient manner for both the parties and the arbitral tribunal. Thus, the arbitral tribunal can, in its cost submission, take the efficiency of a party during the proceedings into account (Article 33.3). Similarly, the newly established Arbitration Council (which is discussed below) can take efficiency into account when setting the arbitrators fees in cases where the proceedings are terminated without a final award or where there is a consent award (Article 34.4).

II. Amendments to Promote Settlements

A further focus of the revised Rules is the promotion of (early) settlement agreements. Similar to the 1998 DIS Rules, the revised Rules explicitly require the arbitral tribunal to seek to encourage an amicable settlement of the dispute or of individual disputed issues, unless any party objects (Article 26). This feature will be more familiar to parties with a civil law background than to common law parties.

As mentioned above, the arbitral tribunal is also required to discuss with the parties during the case management conference whether the parties agree to use mediation or a similar dispute resolute mechanism to facilitate a settlement agreement. The arbitral tribunal also must discuss the possibility of giving the parties a preliminary factual or legal assessment of the case at the case management conference if none of the parties object.

III. Amendments to Increase the Integrity and Transparency of Administrative Decisions During the Arbitral Proceedings

In order to increase transparency and independence, the revised Rules generally aim to transfer to the DIS certain cost-sensitive decisions which relate to the arbitral tribunal. In particular, whereas under the 1998 DIS Rules the arbitral tribunal itself would request and administer any deposit for its own fees and expenses, the Case Management Team of the DIS will now be responsible for these tasks.

Another significant change in the revised Rules is the introduction of an additional institutional committee, the Arbitration Council. The Arbitration Council will be responsible for specific administrative tasks which, under the previous version of the DIS Rules, had been largely handled by the arbitral tribunal itself. Prof. Dr. Maxi Scherer, Special Counsel at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr and Professor at Queen Mary University of London, is one of the members of the Arbitration Council.

The newly-constituted Arbitration Council will be competent to take decisions on a variety of issues. For example:

  • Number of arbitrators (Article 10.2): The Arbitration Council will decide on the request by any party that the arbitral tribunal shall be comprised of a sole arbitration in case the parties have not agreed upon the number of arbitrations. The Arbitration Council will have to consult the other party before deciding on the party's request.
  • Arbitrator challenges (Article 15.4): Under the 1998 DIS Rules, the arbitral tribunal decided on any challenge to an arbitrator. Under the revised Rules, that authority has been transferred to the Arbitration Council. This is aimed at addressing concerns of a potential lack of independence of the body deciding on the challenge, thereby increasing the parties' acceptance of the decision on the challenge.
  • Removing an arbitrator from office (Article 16.2): If the Arbitration Council considers that an arbitrator has not fulfilled his or her duties under the DIS Rules or if the arbitrator is not, or will not be, in a position to fulfil those duties in the future, the Arbitration Council can remove that arbitrator. The specific procedure for the arbitrator's removal from office is set forth in the Internal Rules (Annex 1).
  • Fixing arbitrators' fees (Article 34.4): The Arbitration Council will fix the arbitrators' fees when the arbitration has been terminated prior to the making of the final award or by an award by consent. The decision will be discretionary, but will follow consultations with the parties and the arbitral tribunal. Under the 1998 Rules, the arbitral tribunal fixed its own fees under such circumstances. The decision to transfer this competency from the tribunal to the DIS is again meant to strengthen the independence of the body deciding on the fees and avoid decisions which might appear inherently biased.
  • Reducing arbitrator fees (Article 37): As noted above, the Arbitration Council can also reduce the fees of one or more of the arbitrators based on the time taken by the arbitral tribunal to issue its final award. The Arbitration Council will reduce such fees at its own discretion, but will consult with the arbitral tribunal and take into consideration the circumstances of the specific case.

Somewhat similar to the scrutiny provisions under the ICC Rules, the revised Rules now also require the arbitral tribunal to send the draft award to the DIS for review before signing the award (Article 39.3). However, the DIS is only allowed to make observations with regard to form and to suggest other non-mandatory modifications to the award to the arbitral tribunal. The arbitral tribunal remains exclusively responsible for the substantive content of the award. The DIS estimates that this review will take between 48 and 72 hours per award.

IV. Amendments Concerning Complex and Multi-Party Arbitrations

The revised Rules now contain more detailed provisions concerning multi-party and multi-contract arbitrations. In particular, the revised Rules follow the example of other institutions (such as the ICC, LCIA, and SIAC) and address joinder of additional parties and consolidation of parallel proceedings.

  • Multi-contract arbitrations (Article 17): The revised Rules provide that claims arising out of or in connection with more than one contract can be decided in a single arbitration, if all of the parties to the arbitration have agreed thereto. The same applies if the claims are made in reliance on more than one arbitration agreement, if the arbitration agreements are compatible (Article 17.2). Any dispute as to whether such a multi-contract arbitration is admissible will be decided by the arbitral tribunal.
  • Multi-party arbitrations (Article 18): The revised Rules provide that claims made in an arbitration with multiple parties can be decided in one arbitration if there is an arbitration agreement that binds all parties or if the parties have agreed to such a multi-party arbitration in some other form. As with multi-contract arbitrations, any dispute as to whether such a multi-party arbitration is admissible will be decided by the arbitral tribunal.
  • Joinder (Article 19): The revised Rules provide that any party who wishes to join an additional party to the arbitration can file a Request for Arbitration against such a party, but only before any of the arbitrators have been appointed. The additional party then must file its own Answer and provide comments regarding the constitution of the arbitral tribunal within a time period set by the DIS (Article 19.3). The arbitral tribunal decides on any dispute as to whether such a joinder is admissible.
  • Consolidation (Article 8): The revised Rules provide that, upon the request of a party, the DIS can consolidate two or more parallel arbitrations conducted under the Rules into a single arbitration, but only if all parties to all of the arbitrations consent to the consolidation. The arbitrations will be consolidated into the arbitration that was first commenced, unless the parties have agreed otherwise (Article 8.2).
  • Appointment of arbitrators (Article 20): The revised Rules also contain detailed provisions on the specific appointment procedure for a three-member tribunal in a multi-party arbitration.
  • Notably, and unlike the provisions contained in the ICC Rules, the arbitral tribunal's decision concerning the admissibility of joinders, multi-contract or multi-party proceedings will not be based on a prima facie test. Instead, the arbitral tribunal will have to determine whether there is consent and/or an arbitration agreement that binds all parties (depending on the specific requirements as set out above).

V. Features That Were Not Implemented

Many of the changes in the revised Rules reflect recent revisions of other leading arbitration rules. There are, however, certain notable features included in many recent revisions of other rules that have not been adopted in the DIS's revised Rules. For example:

  • No emergency arbitrator: While emergency arbitrator provisions have become a common feature in many institutional arbitration rules in recent years (see, e.g., Appendix V of the ICC Rules, Article 9B of the LCIA Rules, and Schedule 1 of the SIAC Rules), the revised DIS Rules do not provide for the possibility for parties to seek relief from an emergency arbitrator.
  • Similar to the 1998 DIS Rules, the revised Rules only provide that the arbitral tribunal – after its constitution – can, at the request of a party, order interim relief or conservatory measures and may amend, suspend or revoke any such measure (Article 25.1). Additionally, and as before, the Rules confirm that the parties may request interim or conservatory measures from any competent court at any time (Article 25.3).
  • No expedited formation of tribunal: Unlike the LCIA Rules, the revised Rules do not provide for an expedited formation of the arbitral tribunal, whereby the appointing committee may, for the purpose of forming the arbitral tribunal, abridge any period of time under the arbitration agreement or other agreement of the parties (see Article 9.3 of the LCIA Rules).
  • Opt-in system for expedited procedures: The revised Rules do not provide for automatically expedited procedures in cases where the amount in dispute does not exceed a certain amount, unlike, for example, the ICC Rules or ICDR Rules. Instead, Annex 4 of the Rules (Expedited Proceedings) provides for an opt-in system under which the parties can, during the case management conference, agree that the proceedings should be expedited. This mechanism is meant, in particular, to reflect the feedback of in-house counsel that it is difficult to assess the parties' desire for expedited proceedings when drafting the arbitration agreement and that it would be more appropriate to discuss such measures during the case management conference.

VI. Conclusion

In sum, the revised DIS Rules contain substantive changes that bring the Rules more into line with contemporary arbitration practice. They reflect the DIS's goal to have a modern, efficiency-orientated set of rules, while at the same time maintaining some distinctive features of the old rules, that reflect a civil law approach to certain issues. As such, the revised Rules should offer an interesting alternative for parties and practitioners from both civil and common law backgrounds.


1 As is the case under the 1998 version of the Rules, the DIS can also appoint a Dispute Manager pursuant to Annex 6 of the Rules if at least one party requests such an appointment (Article 2.2). The Dispute Manager can be appointed in addition to the appointment of the arbitral tribunal. Article 27.3 confirms that the Dispute Manager may, with the authorization of the arbitral tribunal, attend the case management conference. The Dispute Manager's role is to assist the parties in deciding on the appropriate dispute resolution mechanism, taking into account economical, legal and other points of view.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP
Clyde & Co
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Practice Guides
by Mondaq Advice Centres
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP
Clyde & Co
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions