International Arbitration Update: New LCIA Rules

Author:Mr Nicholas Gould
Profession:Fenwick Elliott LLP
 
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The London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)

The Drafting Committee of the LCIA circulated a "final draft" of new Arbitration Rules (New LCIA Rules) for consideration by the LCIA at its Tylney Hall symposium on 9 May 2014. These Rules were approved and came into effect on 1 October 2014. This is a particularly exciting development for the LCIA as the existing rules have been in effect since 1998.

The New LCIA Rules have introduced some key changes relating to speed, formation of the arbitral tribunal, emergency relief, consolidation and the conduct of legal representatives, some of which are similar to the changes seen in the 2012 ICC Rules.

Speed

Generally speaking, the New LCIA Rules have slightly shortened the time limits, with periods of time which previously ran for 30 days now running to 28 days instead. This is a practical change as the time limits are now 4 clean weeks, rather than the potentially unhelpful 30-day limit where the last day could often fall on a weekend.

Whilst saying that, the LCIA will notably have 35 days to constitute the tribunal as opposed to the current 30-day limit, so this period has been extended. However, the New LCIA Rules also prevent parties from delaying the formation of the tribunal, stating at Article 5.1 that any deficiencies in the Request or Response will not impede the formation of the tribunal by the LCIA.

On top of this, declarations must be provided by the arbitral candidates, which include a statement that the candidate is "ready, willing and able to devote time, diligence and industry to ensure the expeditious conduct of the arbitration". This is found under Article 5.4 and demonstrates that efficiency and speed are at the core of the New LCIA Rules. Similar to the 2012 ICC Rules, a new time parameter for the delivery of the final award has also been added under Article 15.10, which states that the final award should be delivered "as soon as reasonably possible". The arbitral tribunal is also required to set and notify the parties and the Registrar of a timetable for this purpose.

Formation of the arbitral tribunal and procedures

The LCIA can now, in exceptional circumstances, appoint a tribunal of more than three arbitrators but no party can nominate a sole arbitrator or a chairman unilaterally unless the parties have agreed otherwise.

The tribunal and the parties are also now required under Article 14.1 of the New LCIA Rules to meet to discuss the conduct of the proceedings no later than 21 days...

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