According to the LCIA´s published statement, the recent update aims to “make the arbitral and mediation processes even more streamlined and clear for arbitrators, mediators and parties alike”. The amends introduces important changes which increase flexibility and efficiency in arbitration processes. The key updates include:
- Virtual hearings. The 2020 Rules establish that hearings may be conducted “virtually by conference call, videoconference or using other communications technology” (Article 19.2).
- Electronic communication and electronically signed awards. Electronic
communication is set as the primary form of communication, submission of
communications by registered post or courier services are no longer an
option. Now, Request for Arbitration must be submitted electronically
(Article 4). Additionally, now “any award may be signed electronically and/or
in counterparts and assembled into a single instrument” (Article 26.2).
- Consolidations and concurrent conduct of arbitrations. The 2020 Rules
broadens LCIA Court and Tribunal´s power to order consolidation and
concurrent conduct of arbitrations commenced under the same arbitration
agreement – or a compatible agreement-, by the same disputing parties or
arising out of the same transaction -or related transactions- (Article 22A).
- Early determination. It is expressly established the early dismissal
determination. The tribunal will be able to determine when any claim or
defence is “manifestly outside the jurisdiction of the Arbitral Tribunal, or is
inadmissible or manifestly without merit” (Article 22.1(viii)).
- New provisions on data privacy and cybersecurity. The 2020 Rules
expressly refers to data protection issues (Article 30A) and introduces the
possibility for the LCIA and the tribunal to issue binding directions
addressing data protection.
- A new set of provisions on the tribunal secretaries’ role. A new set of
provisions are included in relation with the tribunal secretaries. Parties´
approval is required for the tasks the tribunal wishes the secretary to
perform (Article 14.10) and the tribunal may not delegate decision-making
to the secretary (Article 14.18).
Even though the updates were not prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic, they present important developments on the changing working practices that are taking place due to the pandemic. Hopefully, other arbitration institutions will follow the LCIA lead to introduce and establish virtual and electronic means as primary.
Find the updated LCIA Arbitration Rules on the following link https://n9.cl/72zx