The LCIA has issued an update to its arbitration rules. The LCIA believed these changes necessary in order to streamline arbitration proceedings and make the process clearer for arbitrators and parties.
The new rules are effective for proceedings started after October 1, 2020 and are available on the LCIA website [URL: https://www.lcia.org/Dispute_Resolution_Services/lcia-arbitration-rules-2020.aspx].
The new LCIA rules come at a crucial time for international arbitration proceedings, as the current pandemic has made it excessively difficult, if not impossible, for parties and arbitrators to meet in person.
First, new Articles 9A, 9B, and 9C now allow the parties to apply for (i) expedited formation of the tribunal; (ii) a temporary sole arbitrator who will conduct emergency proceedings while formation of the tribunal is pending; and (iii) expedited appointment of replacement arbitrator(s).
Significantly, all three of these applications shall be made in writing to the registrar by electronic means.
Second, Article 4.1 now provides that a request for arbitration and the response must be submitted in electronic form, either by email or by other electronic means, including via any electronic filing system operated by the LCIA.
Article 19.2 also states that “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 (or in a combined form).” Finally, Article 26.2 allows an award to be “signed electronically and/or in counterparts and assembled into a single instrument.”
Third, the newly introduced Article 22A provides the LCIA Court and Tribunal with powers to order consolidation/concurrent conduct of arbitration proceedings. This is yet another attempt by the LCIA to streamline arbitration proceedings under the same rules and to facilitate consolidation/concurrent conduct when certain conditions are met.
The LCIA seeks to introduce a more efficient way to handle arbitration proceedings, to avoid duplication of costs and the risk of conflicting decisions.
Last, but not least, the LCIA introduced a specific provision, Article 30A, focused on data security and data protection. Interestingly, now at an early stage of the proceedings arbitral tribunals must consider whether it is appropriate to adopt (i) specific measures to protect the physical and electronic information shared in the arbitration; and (ii) means to address the processing of personal data produced or exchanged in the arbitration in light of applicable data protection legislation or equivalent legislation.
The LCIA’s efforts are remarkable, and the rules allow for more flexible proceedings with enhanced use of electronic communications. These changes will definitely help parties save money and time.