The London International Court of Arbitration (LCIA) has amended its Rules. The new rules will begin to apply to arbitration from October 1, 2020, unless the parties agree to apply the previous version of the LCIA Rules. Changes to the LCIA Rules should ensure the stable application of the Rules, taking into account all changes and innovations in practice, especially those that became relevant during a pandemic. The LCIA initiated the process of adopting changes even before the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the announcement accompanying the published version of the 2020 Regulation states: “While the pandemic did not lead to a change in the direction or focus of the new Regulation, it allowed the LCIA to openly address some changes in the latest practice , namely the increased use of virtual meetings and electronic correspondence by arbitration tribunals. "
According to the new Rules, email and other electronic means should be the main mode of communication. According to Art. 4.1, the request for arbitration, as well as the response to it, must be submitted in electronic form (in writing - only with the prior written permission of the LCIA registry). Art. 4.2 provides that any written communication regarding the arbitration must be sent by e-mail or other electronic means that provides a record of the fact of its transmission. Email priority now extends to arbitration awards. Art. 26 provides that the arbitration award may be electronically signed unless the parties agree otherwise or the arbitration or the LCIA decides otherwise, as in some cases the arbitration award must be duly rendered, for example, to be enforceable in some countries
Art. 19.2 now provides that a meeting can be held in person or virtually using conference, video conferencing, or other technology with participants from one or more geographic locations (and also in mixed form). This provision seems especially useful in a pandemic, however, it is also worth noting that this practice began to take shape even before the pandemic.
Protection of personal data
Art. 30.5 provides that the arbitration tribunal must consult with the parties at an early stage of the arbitration to decide whether it is advisable to take measures to protect certain information in order to protect information in electronic form and on physical media submitted to the arbitration tribunal and the means for processing personal data transferred in the framework of arbitration to the context of applicable data protection legislation. The arbitration (as well as the LCIA) may issue instructions on appropriate measures, binding on the parties and on the arbitration itself.
Fast track process
The effectiveness of arbitration has become a major focus of the new Rule. So, Art. 14 arbitration may issue procedural orders to expedite procedures:
- limit the scope or content of any written statement under Art. 15;
- limit the written and oral testimony of any witness;
- use technology to increase the efficiency of arbitration;
- determine the stage of arbitration at which any issue can be considered, and the procedure for consideration;
- do without a meeting.
Another tool to speed up the process is the Early Establishment under Art. 22.1 (viii): The arbitration has the right to determine that any statement, objection, withdrawal, counter-statement, opposition to a counter-statement or withdrawal to a counter-statement is outside the jurisdiction of the arbitration, is inadmissible or unreasonable. In the previous version of the Rules, this right of arbitration was only implied, but not explicitly provided for. This change should contribute to the effectiveness of the arbitration, help the parties to avoid costs and manifestly unfounded claims.
The 2014 LCIA rules did not allow a party to initiate arbitration for disputes arising from multiple contracts. Instead, the parties had to file multiple separate Requests for Arbitration and then request that the multiple processes be merged into one. Changes made to Art. 1.2, allow a complex Arbitration Request to initiate multiple processes at once. According to Art. 2.2 the respondent has the opportunity to submit one complex Answer.
The 2014 LCIA Rules also allowed arbitrations to consolidate multiple processes into one with the consent of the LCIA if (1) all parties agreed to consolidate in writing; or (2) the proceedings were initiated under the same arbitration agreement or similar arbitration agreements between the same parties, provided that the arbitral tribunal has not yet been formed or formed, but from the same judges. The LCIA also had the power to consolidate the proceedings if the arbitral tribunal had not yet been appointed. The 2020 Rules added the ability for arbitration or LCIA, if the arbitral tribunal has not yet been formed, to appoint a consolidation of processes initiated under the same arbitration agreement or similar arbitration agreements and arising from the same transaction or chain of related transactions - even if the parties to the dispute are different (Art.22.7 ( ii)). Also Art. 22.7 (iii) allows an arbitral tribunal to conduct proceedings concurrently under similar circumstances and if the same arbitral tribunal has been formed for each process.
The 2014 LCIA rules did not provide for the independence, disinterest and impartiality requirements of secretaries as arbitrators. In practice, however, the arbitral tribunal often delegated some of its responsibilities to the secretary, so in 2017 the LCIA adopted detailed guidance on this matter. The new 2020 Rules contain Art. 14A, which requires the parties to agree to the use of the secretaries of arbitration, arbitrators should not delegate their decision-making powers to the secretaries, and secretaries must disclose conflicts of interest and maintain confidentiality.
Юридическая фирма «Надмитов, «Надмитов, Иванов и Партнеры» регулярно представляет интересы клиентов по коммерческим спорам в международном коммерческом арбитраже, в том числе в Лондонском международном арбитражном суде (LCIA).