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The ICC’s 2021 Arbitration Rules bring new focus on efficiencies and streamlined processes, including through the use of technology

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Anna Masser

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Frankfurt am Main

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Marieke van Hooijdonk

Partner

Amsterdam

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25 November 2020

The International Chamber of Commerce (the ICC) has published its revised 2021 Arbitration Rules (2021 Rules).  The 2021 Rules, which will apply to all arbitrations registered after 1 January 2021, make a number of important changes and incremental improvements to the current Rules, which have been in force since March 2017 (2017 Rules).

The key changes made in the 2021 Rules, which are most likely to be of interest to, and directly affect, users of ICC arbitration, include:

  • A shift toward the increased use of technology, in particular in relation to virtual or remote hearings, and a presumption in favour of electronic copies of pleadings and communications, rather than hardcopies;
  • Additional rules around the nationality of arbitrators and party representatives to ensure complete neutrality and avoid conflicts of interest;
  • A more flexible approach to the consolidation of multiple arbitrations and the joinder of additional parties;
  • More transparency as regards the use of third party funding; and
  • An increased threshold of USD3million for Expedited Procedure to apply automatically.

In addition, the ICC has moved to ensure that any disputes brought against the institution itself, in relation to its activities administering arbitrations, are governed by French law and are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Paris courts. This follows several disputes brought against the ICC.