Reed Smith In-depth

This alert summarizes key revisions that the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) has made to its mediation and arbitration rules and compares those revisions to recent changes that the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) have made to their rules (see previous alert on these rules).

I. The 2021 ICDR Arbitration Rules

Effective March 1, 2021, the ICDR has updated its International Dispute Resolution Procedures. The update is the culmination of a yearlong effort by an ICDR drafting committee to recognize changing dynamics due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to promote greater efficiency and innovation. Summarized below are some of the most noteworthy changes to the ICDR Rules.

  • Definition of “international”: The ICDR now defines what “international” is for purposes of deciding whether a case should be administered by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) or the ICDR. The ICDR has incorporated the United National Commission on International Trade Law’s (UNCITRAL) definition of what makes a dispute “international.” Under the ICDR Rules, an arbitration may be deemed international and administered by the ICDR if:
    • The parties to an arbitration agreement have their places of business in different countries;
    • The place where a substantial part of the obligations of the parties’ commercial relationship to be performed is situated outside the country of any party;
    • The place with which the subject-matter of the dispute is most closely connected is situated outside the country of any party;
    • The place of arbitration is situated outside of the country of any party; or
    • One party with more than one place of business (including a parent and/or subsidiary) is situated outside of the country of any party.

(See Introduction to ICDR Rules, p. 6).

  • Tribunal secretary: The ICDR Rules now expressly allow for the appointment of a tribunal secretary. (Article 17).
  • Expedited procedures: The 2021 Rules change the monetary threshold for defaulting to the expedited procedures. Under the 2014 Rules, the expedited procedures applied when “no disclosed claim or counterclaim exceed[ed] USD $250,000 exclusive of interest and the costs of arbitration.” The updated 2021 Rules raise this figure to $500,000. (Article 1(4)).