UK: LCIA Arbitration Rule Update 2014

The LCIA has released new LCIA arbitration rules for the first time in 15 years. These rules took effect in October 2014. Many of these amendments serve to bring the LCIA rules fully up to date with the revisions and updates that other international arbitral institutions, such as the ICC have implemented in recent years.

Generally, the key amendments address a few common issues focussing on a shortening of the timetable and speeding up the procedure. The key amendments are summarised briefly below:

Speed and procedure

Article 14.1 - The Tribunal must meet to discuss the conduct of the proceedings no later than 21 days after notification that the Tribunal has been constituted.

Article 15.10 - The arbitral Tribunal should render the award "as soon as responsibly possible". The Tribunal should set a timetable for this purpose and notify the parties and the registrar.

In general the timings and the rules have been slightly shortened and periods of time which previously ran for 30 days are now 28 days. By way of example, article 2.1 provides that the Response is due after 28 days not 30 days.

Article 5.4 - The arbitral candidate shall sign a written declaration stating that they are "ready, willing and able to devote sufficient time, diligence and industry to ensure the expeditious conduct of the arbitration".

Formation of the tribunal

Article 5.8 allows the LCIA Court to appoint a Tribunal of more than three arbitrators in exceptional circumstances.

Article 7.3, the parties agree that no party can nominate a sole arbitrator or chairman.

Emergency relief

The parties are now able to apply to the LCIA for the urgent appointment of a sole arbitrator under Article 9b. The emergency arbitrator shall decide the claim no later than 20 days following their appointment under Article 9.7. The arbitrator is not required to hold a hearing but may decide the emergency relief on any available documentation. It should be noted that this provision is only available in exceptional circumstances.

Default seat

The parties are still free to choose the seat of the arbitration and there has been no change to the default seat in the absence of agreement by the parties, which remains London, England. However, in the absence of choice the default seat will now apply up to and until the formation of the Tribunal, thereafter the Tribunal may order that a different seat is more appropriate after seeking written submissions from the parties (Article 16.2).

Conduct of legal representative and parties

The new rules contain a number of provisions and amendments relating to the conduct of legal representatives.

Under Article 18.3 the parties must now notify all other parties if there are any changes or additions to their legal representatives and any such changes are conditional upon the Tribunal's approval. Article 18.4 states that the Tribunal may withhold approval where any such change could compromise the composition of the arbitral Tribunal or the finality of any award.

General Conduct Guidelines that will apply to all legal representatives appearing before the Tribunal are contained in an Annex to the draft rules. The Tribunal has powers to rule on whether or not the guidelines have been violated and has an express power to take the parties conduct into account when awarding costs under Article 28.4.

In general the amendments to the LCIA Rules are welcomed due to their emphasis on promoting procedural efficiently and improving the conduct of the parties for better handling of complex commercial disputes.

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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