Reed Smith Client Alerts

In an effort to further modernize and streamline the arbitration process, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) have issued revised arbitration rules over the past three months. The 2020 LCIA Arbitration Rules will apply to arbitrations commenced on or after 1 October 2020, and the 2021 ICC Arbitration Rules are slated to come into force for arbitrations commenced on or after 1 January 2021. This alert summarizes the key revisions to both sets of revised rules, followed by key takeaways.

I. The 2020 LCIA Arbitration Rules

  • Remote proceedings: The new rules contemplate that a hearing may take place in any remote communication format where parties are located in different geographic locations (Article 19(2)).
  • Consolidation and composite requests: Unlike the LCIA rules issued in 2014, LCIA arbitrators are now empowered to consolidate multiple arbitrations under compatible arbitration agreements between the same parties or involving the same underlying transaction (even if involving different parties) (Articles 22(A), 22(7)(ii)-(iii), and 22(8)(ii)). Moreover, a party may commence separate arbitrations, involving multiple respondents and multiple arbitration agreements, by a composite request (Article 1(2)).
  • Expedited procedures: To ensure a more efficient and streamlined arbitral process, the new rules provide arbitrators with the discretion to order any of a non-exhaustive list of eight expedited procedural measures (Article 14(6)). These include: (i) limiting the length of written submissions; (ii) the authority to determine at which juncture of the proceedings a particular issue should be determined; (iii) dispensing with a hearing (but the right to a hearing remains); and (iv) curtailing any period of time.
  • Electronic communications: A long overdue update, the default method of all written communications in LCIA proceedings is now electronic throughout the entirety of the proceeding (Articles 4(1) and 4(2)).
  • Summary disposition: The revisions provide the tribunal with the explicit authority to promptly dismiss claims or defenses that are unequivocally meritless, inadmissible, or beyond the tribunal’s jurisdiction, irrespective of whether the tribunal elects to institute the aforementioned expedited procedures (Article 22(1)(viii)).
  • Data security protocols: In a timely innovation, the new rules obligate tribunals to consider, and empower them to issue, binding directives as to the propriety of instituting specific data protection and information security protocols to prevent cybersecurity breaches of confidential or sensitive information (Article 30(A)).