Saudi Arabia: Accelerating The Pace Of International Arbitration: A Comparative Look At The ICC's New Expedited Procedure Provisions

Last Updated: 25 July 2017
Article by Thomas Snider

International arbitration has become the preferred means of resolving cross-border commercial disputes in the modern business world. However, increasing demand for arbitration has resulted in complaints about delay and the costs of arbitral proceedings, which, in turn, is driving demand for change aimed at improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of arbitration.

Expedited arbitration is a relatively new process in international arbitration that is often used for disputes of limited value. It aims to shorten the duration of arbitral proceedings and reduce the cost of arbitration while preserving its main principles and purposes. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is the latest institution to have introduced expedited arbitration procedures. It joins several other arbitral institutions, including the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC), International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), Swiss Chambers' Arbitration Institution, and Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), that have successfully adopted mechanisms for expedited arbitration. All of these mechanisms serve the same purpose – effective, time- and cost-efficient arbitration.

Main Features of the ICC's Expedited Procedure Provisions

The ICC recently introduced its Expedited Procedure Provisions, which offer an option to conduct arbitration on an expedited or "fast-track" basis for disputes with a limited amount at stake. The Expedited Procedure Provisions came into effect on 1 March 2017 and are set out at Article 30 and Appendix VI of the ICC Rules. The Expedited Procedure Provisions apply to arbitrations in which (1) the arbitration agreement was concluded after 1 March 2017, (2) the amount in dispute is not more than USD 2 million, and (3) the parties have not opted out of the Expedited Procedure Provisions. 

The main features of the Expedited Procedure Provisions that distinguish them from the general arbitration procedures set out in the ICC Rules are summarised in the table below:

General Arbitration Procedures under ICC Rules

Expedited Arbitration Provisions under the ICC Rules

Maximum Amount in Dispute (USD)

Not limited

USD 2 million (or more if agreed by parties) (Article 30(2) and Article 1(2) of Appendix VI of the ICC Rules)

Terms of Reference

Required (Article 23 of the ICC Rules)

Not required

Case Management Conference

To be held "as soon as possible'' after drawing up the Terms of Reference (Article 24 of the ICC Rules)

Timing is limited to no later than 15 days after the date on which the file is transmitted to the arbitral tribunal (Article 3(3) of Appendix VI of the ICC Rules)

Number of Arbitrators

One or three, as provided in the arbitration agreement (with a default of one if not specified) (Article 12 of the ICC Rules)

One, irrespective of the arbitration agreement (Article 2 of Appendix VI of the ICC Rules)

Expedited Appointment of Arbitrators

No time-limit requirements

Appointment to be made "within as short a time as possible" (Article 2(2) of Appendix VI of the ICC Rules)

No Oral Hearings/Documents Only

Possible, but only if neither party requests otherwise (Article 25(6) of the ICC Rules)

Possible, but for the tribunal to decide (Article 3(4) of Appendix VI of the ICC Rules)

Submission of New Claims after Constitution of Tribunal


Not allowed (Article 3(2) of Appendix VI of the ICC Rules)

Deadline for a Final Award

Six months from the date of the last signature by the arbitral tribunal or by the parties of the Terms of Reference (Article 31 of the ICC Rules)

Six months from the date of the case management conference (Article 4(1) of Appendix VI of the ICC Rules)

Arbitrator Fees

Fee scale with a minimum amount of USD 3,000 (Appendix III, Scale B, for general arbitration)

Fee scale with a minimum amount of USD 2,400 (Appendix III, Scale B, for the Expedited Procedure)

Comparison with Other Institutional Rules 

As noted above, the ICC is not alone in offering a mechanism for expediting arbitral proceedings – several other arbitral institutions, including the SCC, ICDR, SIAC, and HKIAC have incorporated such features into their rules as well. This section highlights some of the important similarities and differences in these expedited features among the various sets of rules. 

Amount in dispute

Under the ICC's rules, the expedited procedures will apply automatically if the amount in dispute is less than USD 2 million, although parties can "opt-out" if they agree that the Expedited Procedure Provisions will not apply. Conversely, parties may also agree to apply the Expedited Procedure Provisions to cases with an amount in dispute of more than USD 2 million if they "opt in" to the Expedited Procedure Provisions for such disputes via the arbitration agreement. 

By way of comparison, under the SIAC Rules, expedited procedures can be applied to disputes with an amount in dispute up to the equivalent of USD 4,280,000 (Rule 5.1(a) of Schedule 1 of the SIAC Rules). The recently revised SCC Rules for Expedited Arbitration go even further: they are silent on the amount in dispute in terms of applying the expedited procedures. This approach provides the parties with greater latitude in using the procedures, including in high-value disputes. However, both SIAC and the SCC apply their expedited procedures only in disputes where the parties "opted in" by specifically choosing the expedited procedures in their arbitration agreement. 

Some institutional rules provide that their expedited rules can apply in cases of "exceptional urgency" (e.g., Rule 5(1)(c) of the SIAC Rules and Article 41.1(c) of the HKIAC Rules), even where the amount in dispute is higher than the amount in dispute stipulated for expedited procedures for non-urgent cases. However, most institutions with expedited procedures, and the ICC in particular, do not require a pre-condition of "urgency" or "emergency" for their expedited procedures to be applied. 

Like the ICC's Expedited Procedure Provisions, the ICDR's expedited procedures automatically apply to certain low-value disputes, but the cap is set much lower at USD 250,000 as compared to the ICC's threshold of USD 2 million. Similarly, the cap under the Swiss Rules is set at the equivalent of USD 993,000. The ICC's calibration of the USD 2 million-threshold may have been driven by the fact that both the number and value of disputes submitted for arbitration under the ICC Rules is growing. According to the ICC Statistical Report for 2015, the average value of the disputes referred to the ICC rose to USD 84 million, which is 25% higher than in 2014, when it was USD 63 million.

Size and role of an arbitral tribunal   

Under the ICC's Expedited Procedure Provisions, the dispute is to be resolved by a sole arbitrator nominated by the parties. If the parties cannot agree, the ICC's International Court of Arbitration (ICC Court) will appoint an arbitrator. The requirement of a sole arbitrator in the Expedited Procedure Provisions (regardless of the number stipulated by the parties in their arbitration agreement) will foster efficiency in the arbitration process and help reduce the cost of the arbitration. The appointment of arbitrators can be a time-consuming exercise and parties may misuse it as a delaying tactic. Additionally, an arbitration conducted by a sole arbitrator will typically be far cheaper than one in which three members of a tribunal take part. 

The provision for a sole arbitrator is also provided for in the SCC and the ICDR Rules, even when the parties have agreed otherwise. In contrast, the ICDR, SIAC, Swiss, and HKIAC Rules allow a multiple-member tribunal to be appointed by agreement between the parties or by the decision of the arbitration institution. 

With respect to the powers of the tribunal, the ICC's Expedited Procedure Provisions follow the practise of most other institutions (including the ICDR, SIAC, and HKIAC) by giving the tribunal the full discretion to conduct an arbitration (e.g., to dispense with an oral hearing and to decide a case on the basis of documents only). 

Time limits and procedural matters   

One of the main purposes of the Expedited Procedure Provisions is to shorten the duration of the arbitration process, which in some complex matters can take years. One of the provisions geared towards keeping the arbitral process brief is the prohibition on parties introducing new claims once the sole arbitrator has been appointed, unless expressly authorized by the arbitrator. Moreover, the Expedited Procedure Provisions provide that the case management conference must be held no later than 15 days after the sole arbitrator has received the file from the ICC. The requirement of a case management conference for expedited arbitrations in most of the institutional rules is consistent with the approach in mainstream arbitration under those institutional rules. A number of institutions, including the ICC, SCC, ICDR, and SIAC, require a case management conference to be held for expedited arbitration. 

Most institutional rules are silent as to whether the application of expedited procedures may be objected to or discontinued after they have been applied. Following the practice of the ICDR Rules and the SIAC Rules, the ICC's Expedited Procedure Provisions reserve for the ICC Court a right to discontinue the application of the expedited procedure at any stage of the proceedings, either on its own motion or upon the request of a party after consultation with the tribunal and the parties.  

Timing and content of an arbitration award 

Award timing differs under the expedited rules of the various institutions. Under the ICC's Expedited Procedure Provisions, the time limit within which the arbitral tribunal must render its final award is six months from the date of the case management conference. 

In comparison, under most other expedited rules, even those providing a case management conference for their expedited arbitrations (e.g., ICDR, SIAC, and SCC Rules), the time limit for rendering an award is calculated from the date of the constitution of the tribunal (e.g., Rule 5(2)(d) of the SIAC Rules) or from the transmittal of the file to the tribunal (e.g., Article 41(2)(f) of the HKIAC Rules; Article 42(1)(d) of the Swiss Rules). 

The ICC's six-month time limit for rendering an award follows the practice of most arbitral institutions. However, some institutions provide for a three-month time limit (e.g., Article 43 of the SCC Rules for Expedited Arbitrations). The ICDR Rules establish the shortest deadline for rendering an arbitral award in expedited arbitration, providing that an award must be rendered within 30 days of the closing hearing or of final written submissions. 

There is a tension between, on the one hand, the need to finalise the arbitration within the strict time-limit imposed by the rules, and, on the other, the tribunal's duty to allow the parties a full opportunity to present their cases. A failure to comply with that duty may make the award unenforceable under Article V(1)(b) of the New York Convention. To avoid this outcome, the ICC's Expedited Procedure Provisions reserve the right for the ICC Court to extend the time limit for issuing a final award. Hopefully, this provision will apply only in very limited exceptional circumstances. 

The ICC's Expedited Procedure Provisions require that an award must be reasoned. In contrast, most other expedited rules allow for an award to be in summary form unless the parties have specifically agreed otherwise (e.g., Rule 5.2(e) of the SIAC Rules, Article 41.2(g) of the HKIAC Rules, and Article 42.1(e) of the Swiss Rules). 


Mr. Alexis Mourre, the President of the ICC Court, has stated that the ICC's Expedited Procedure Provisions are "an entirely new offer to the business community and an effective answer to the legitimate concerns of the business community as to the time and costs of arbitration". Such procedures are indeed a key development in terms of maintaining the attractiveness and utility of international arbitration and have been taken up with enthusiasm. While parties should understand that the Expedited Procedure Provisions are not suitable for all kinds of disputes, parties should seriously consider using these newly established procedure where:

  • the dispute is low-value and/or has little impact on the ongoing business of the parties;
  • the case is straightforward and can be dealt with on a documents-only basis;
  • situations where the time and cost of arbitration are material issues; and/or
  • both parties agree to apply the expedited procedure.

Originally published in Al Tamimi & Company's Law Update magazine, April 2017

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.

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”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). 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 & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd 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 or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.