Turkey: Faster Method For Arbitration: Expedited Arbitration Procedure In The Scope Of ICC Arbitration Rules And ISTAC Arbitration And Mediation Rules

Last Updated: 26 April 2018
Article by Abdulkadir Guzeloglu and Tarik Kurban

In order to keep pace with the expeditious business life, arbitration institutions needed to devise more rapid ways to solve disputes. The expedited arbitration procedures, which are applied to resolution of disputes where the value of dispute does not exceed certain amount of value is preferred by increasing number of parties in recent years.

Because it is subjected to lesser procedural burdens, parties can reach to the desired fair situation faster and with less expense.

ISTAC Fast Track Arbitration Rules

Although in the text of International Chamber of Commerce ("ICC") Rules of Arbitration the simplified arbitration procedure is named "Expedited Arbitration", the term of "Fast Track Arbitration" is preferred to be used by the Istanbul Arbitration Center ("ISTAC") Arbitration and Mediation Rules. For this reason, we used the term of "Fast Track Arbitration" in this section.

ISTAC Arbitration and Mediation Rules states that, Fast Track Arbitration Rules will be applied to disputes where the total sum of the claims and any counterclaims does not exceed TRY 300.000.

The Fast Track Arbitration Rules may also be applicable where the amount in dispute exceeds this sum but parties agreed to apply the fast track rules anyway.

In the case where both the claims and counterclaims exceed the sum of TRY 300.000 during the course of arbitration proceedings, the Fast Track Arbitration Rules are still applied if the parties do not agree on otherwise.

The Board have power not to apply the Fast Track Arbitration upon a request of one of the parties even though the sum of the claims does not exceed TRY 300.000. The board takes this decision considering the facts and circumstances of the concrete case.

Key Differences of Fast Track Arbitration Procedure

Since the Fast Track Arbitration is designed as a swift procedure, most of the key differences are affiliates with the period-related provisions.

In accordance with the standard rules, the Secretariat may give 15 days to the claimant if the application does not contain certain essential elements. However, the Fast Track Arbitration Rules does not contain any similar provision.

In the fast track procedure, the defendant is obliged to submit the reply petition and, if any, a request for a lawsuit and its annexes to the Secretariat within 15 days of receiving the notification of the claim while according to the standard arbitration procedure, this period is set at 30 days. Because of the citation referance to the ISTAC Arbitration Rules in the Article 9 of the ISTAC Fast Track Arbitration Rules, for both procedure additional time may be given upon request.

As per to the Fast Track Arbitration Rules, the sole arbitrator is obliged to give decision on the merits of the dispute within 3 months starting the transfer of the file to himself. In addition, it is stated that the sole arbitrator must reach decision on the merits of the dispute within one month starting from the submission of the last petition, or from the date of the hearing if the hearing is held, whichever is later.

ICC Expedited Arbitration Procedure

As per to the article 30 of the ICC Arbitration Rules, the Expedited Arbitration Rules must be applied if;

  • The arbitration agreement was concluded after 1 March 2017; and; 
  • The amount in dispute does not exceed US$2,000,000, and; 
  • The parties have not opted out of the Expedited Procedure Rules in the arbitration agreement or at any time thereafter.

It must be noted, regardless of the date of conclusion of the arbitration agreement and the amount of the dispute the ICC Expedited Arbitration procedure can also be applied if the parties agreed so.

In Expedited Arbitration procedure, the Court have power to appoint a sole arbitrator notwithstanding any contrary provision of the arbitration agreement.

The court also have power to appoint three arbitrators if the circumstances of the case required.

Even if the conditions for the expedited arbitration procedure are met, the Court of Arbitration may decide that the ordinary procedure shall be applied after the opinion of the parties and the arbitrator(s) has been taken.

Differences of Expedited Arbitration

To ensure the quickness of the arbitration procedure, ICC Expedited Arbitration Rules possess certain differences from the standard rules.

No Terms of Reference

A terms of reference is a document that includes many information regarding the parties, the claims and relief sought by each party, the arbitrators etc.

According to the standard procedure, the arbitral tribunal has to draw up a Terms of Reference, on the basis of documents or in the presence of the parties and in the light of their most recent submissions as soon as it has received the file from the Secretariat.

However, in the Expedited Arbitration procedure the arbitral tribunal does not draw up such document.

A case management conference within 15 days after the date on which the file was transmitted to the arbitral tribunal

In standard procedure, the arbitral tribunal has to convene a case management conference when drawing up the Terms of Reference or as soon as possible thereafter. But the Expedited Arbitration provisions states that the case management conference has to be held no later than 15 days after the date of the transmission of the file to the arbitral tribunal.

The arbitral tribunal may decide on documents only

As per to the standard procedure, hearing must be held if one of the parties request a hearing. However, the arbitral tribunal may decide solely on the basis of the documents submitted by the parties without convening any hearing according to the Expedited Procedure.

The arbitral tribunal may limit the number, length and scope of written submissions and written witness evidence

In Expedited Arbitration procedure the arbitral tribunal have power to set a limit to the document production or expert witness examination or the number, length and scope of written submissions. However, such power is unmentioned on the standard rules.

For the cases that is governing by the Expedited Arbitration provisions, the final award has to be rendered within six months from the case management conference.

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.

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