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Home // More Efficient Arbitration Likely After Update In Rules

At Nath Solicitors in London we’ve seen a definite uptick in the use of arbitration as a way of settling business disputes. We mentioned previously how, in the wake of the Covid pandemic the government positively encouraged parties in dispute to take advantage of arbitration and other forms of ADR. This initiative appears to be panning out in practice.

One of the chief advantages of arbitration is the ability of parties to adopt a set of procedures that suits them. Rules can be tailored specifically to the case at hand or – more frequently – parties can follow the arbitration rules set out by one of the recognised arbitration bodies. In the UK many lawyers advise clients to engage in arbitration under the auspices of the London Court of International Arbitration (the LCIA). And in 2020 the LCIA introduced some worthwhile changes to their standard rules. Here we look at some of the updates and how they may impact future LCIA arbitrations.

Enhancing Tribunal’s discretion over how proceedings are run

Under the new LCIA rules The Tribunal has a general duty to adopt procedures that avoid ‘unnecessary delay and expense, so as to provide a fair, efficient and expeditious means for the final resolution of the parties’ dispute’. Article 14 of the new rules highlights that the tribunal has a ‘wide discretion’ to ensure it fulfils this duty. There’s an exhaustive list of ways the tribunal can ensure efficiency, including

  • limiting the length or content of written statements
  • limiting the written and oral testimony of any witness employing technology to enhance the conduct of the arbitration

Harnessing technology

The LCIA had the ability to hold remote hearings before the new rules. Influenced perhaps by the reality of arbitrating in the context of Covid the new rules are much more upfront about using remote hearings and associated technology to improve efficiency. They state:

‘a hearing may take place in person, or virtually by conference call, videoconference or using other communications technology with participants in one or more geographical places’

In addition to these changes the new rules also extend the LCIA’s ability to hear disputes involving more than one part and regarding more than one contract. Provisions relating to confidentiality and data protection are also strengthened and there are detailed guidelines about how the representatives of the parties conduct themselves and what to do if one side wishes to complain about the other’s conduct.

Comment

The LCIA rules are suitable for all types of dispute resolution, and offer a good mix between both the civil and common law systems of law. They provide maximum flexibility, efficient appointment of arbitrators, appropriate procedures and effective ways to minimise delay and cost in resolving your dispute.

Introducing the changes the LCIA indicated it hoped the updates would improve efficiency and make the LCIA process clearer for all parties involved. We think these changes will have this effect, particularly the enhanced flexibility over procedures and the move toward greater use of virtual hearings.

CONTACT US

At Nath we advise clients on all forms of ADR, including arbitration. The new LCIA rules present opportunities for more efficient disposal of sensitive commercial disputes. If you would like to discuss any of the issues we’ve raised in this article, please contact Shubha Nath at Nath Solicitors on 44 (0) 203 983 8278 or get in touch with the firm online.

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