Reed Smith Client Alerts

The DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre (DIFC-LCIA) has updated its Rules, which came into effect on January 1, 2021. The DIFC-LCIA Rules 2021 (the 2021 Rules) replace the previous DIFC-LCIA Rules 2016 (the 2016 Rules) and apply to all arbitrations commenced from January 1, 2021, in circumstances where the parties have chosen DIFC-LCIA as the institution to govern their arbitration.

The 2021 Rules bring with them a number of key changes that are intended to further promote the fair, efficient, and expeditious conduct of arbitrations and seek to provide clarity to arbitrators and parties.

The key features of the updated 2021 Rules are outlined below.

Additional tools allowing arbitrators to expedite proceedings

The 2021 Rules provide Arbitral Tribunals with additional powers to:

Make an “Early Determination” on any claims, defences, or counterclaims and similar which are manifestly outside the Tribunal’s jurisdiction, manifestly without merit, or inadmissible (Article 22(viii)).

  • Limit the length or content of any pleadings, or dismiss the need for written pleadings entirely (Article 14.6(i)).
  • Limit the written and oral testimony of any witness (Article 14.6(ii)).
  • Dispense with the need for a hearing entirely (Article 14.6(v)).

Although Arbitral Tribunals had wide powers under the 2016 Rules, these express powers are likely to provide comfort to arbitrators and embolden them to take a more active role in efficiently resolving disputes with less fear of a challenge by a recalcitrant party.