By Jonathan Hew

On 5 January 2016, the International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration (ICC) announced two decisions aimed at enhancing the efficiency and transparency of its arbitration proceedings:

1. Court to publish certain details of arbitrators sitting in ICC cases. These details will be posted on the Court’s website and will comprise the names of arbitrators, their nationality, whether they were appointed by the parties of the ICC, and which arbitrator was appointed as the tribunal chairperson. Case reference numbers and the names of parties and counsel will not be published. This policy will apply to cases registered from 1 January 2016, although parties will be able to opt out by mutual agreement.

2. Costs consequences for unjustified delays in submitting awards. Tribunals will be expected to submit draft awards within either two months (for cases with one arbitrator only) or three months (for cases with more than one arbitrator) after the later of the last substantive hearing or written submission. If a draft award is submitted after the relevant deadline, the Court may lower the arbitrators’ fees unless it is satisfied that the delay was caused by factors beyond the arbitrators’ control or by exceptional circumstances.

Fees may be reduced as follows:

  • 5 – 10% for draft awards submitted up to seven months after the last substantive hearing or written submissions
  • 10 – 20% for draft awards submitted up to ten months after the last substantive hearing or written submissions
  • 20% or more for draft awards submitted more than 10 months after the last substantive hearing or written submissions

In addition, the ICC will be able to increase the arbitrators’ fees if an arbitration been conducted expeditiously.

How will this affect you?

Provided that the ICC’s data reaches critical mass, the ICC’s information on arbitrators will serve as a central repository that parties can refer to when considering who to nominate for a tribunal. The information is unlikely to be of further value given its limited nature.

The ICC’s power to reduce arbitrators’ fees will serve as a powerful incentive for arbitrators to conclude tribunal deliberations in a timely manner. This could increase the ICC’s popularity as a forum for dispute resolution in an already competitive market. However, whether the ICC’s new practice actually leads to increased expeditiousness of arbitral proceedings remains to be seen.