International Chamber of Commerce Implements New Arbitration Rules

One of the key factors that most companies consider when doing business with foreign enterprises is the potential costs of resolving international commercial disputes. In most cases, that means looking at the comparative advantages of arbitration as opposed to business litigation in U.S. or foreign courts.

Earlier this year, the International Court of Arbitration announced a series of new rules intended to cut the costs of alternative dispute resolution and make it a more competitive option over traditional court proceedings. The Court administers all arbitrations conducted under the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

The new ICC Arbitration Rules, which went into effect in January 2012, represent the first overhaul in over a decade. The three key themes of the reform effort include improving case management provisions, allowing new procedures for multiple parties and multiple contracts to be considered within the same case, and introducing the potential for consolidation of cases with overlapping subject matter and relevance.

The ICC Rules provide for arbitration of all types of business disputes, and the parties do not have to be from separate countries. One major advantage of this forum is its affiliated International Centre for Expertise, which can supply expert assessment of technical issues ranging from food quality and material durability to chemical manufacturing processes and many other issues relevant to business disputes.

ICC arbitrations lead to binding decisions from a neutral tribunal or individual arbitrator that are enforceable under domestic arbitration laws as well as the New York Convention and other international treaties. Due to a considerable share of non-western parties who submit to ICC arbitration in contract provisions, this forum has a reputation for working in Arabic and Asian languages as well as being familiar with the laws of those countries.