The London Court of International Arbitration has published a “final draft” of its revised arbitration rules on its website. The aim is for the draft rules to be discussed at the LCIA Court meeting at Tylney Hall on 9 May 2014. If approved, the revisions will come into force shortly afterwards.
The main thrust of the proposed changes is to improve procedural efficiency by reducing the scope for abuse of process and by modernising provisions which were last updated in 1998. Features of the new Rules likely to be of particular interest to arbitration practitioners include the introduction of ethical guidelines for counsel acting in arbitration, violation of which may result in a tribunal being able to impose sanctions on a party’s legal representatives.
The possible introduction of emergency arbitrator provisions is also new, and is consistent with recent amendments to other institutional rules. The draft leaves it open for the LCIA Court to decide whether to adopt the emergency arbitrator provisions – which appear as an alternative to the current provisions for the urgent appointment of a tribunal – so it remains unclear at this stage whether emergency arbitrator provision will definitely feature in the final version. As we noted in our ARBlog on 29 January 2014, the utility of emergency arbitrator provisions is a matter for debate.
We will continue to monitor the status of the approval process and will publish guidance on the final version of the new rules.