On 1 January 2014, the new Mediation Rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) came into force.  The new rules replace the ICC’s Amicable Dispute Resolution Rules, which had been force since 2001.

A full copy of the new Mediation Rules (available in eight languages) can be found here.   The Rules are accompanied by a new ICC publication to assist users of mediation generally, the ICC Mediation Guidance Note.

In launching the new Mediation Rules late last year, the ICC International Centre for ADR explained that, when the previous Amicable Dispute Resolution Rules were drafted some thirteen years ago, they were tailored to fit a wide range of alternative dispute resolution techniques –  including mediation, conciliation, neutral evaluation and other processes.  Now, with more than 90% of ICC’s cases filed since 2001 reverting to mediation, the new rules set mediation as the default approach to reflect this reality, while still allowing parties to use other dispute resolution techniques if they prefer.

A further notable change from the previous rules is an increased administrative role for the ICC International Centre for ADR in facilitating the procedural arrangements for mediations. This may include setting the language and place of the mediation meeting, in the absence of agreement.

The new rules provide that where, prior to 1 January 2014, parties have agreed to submit a dispute to the ICC Amicable Dispute Resolution Rules, the parties will be deemed to have submitted to the new Mediation Rules, unless any party objects (in which case the earlier rules will apply).

According to the ICC, since 2001 it has mediated cases worldwide involving more than 70 nationalities, with over 75% of the cases transferred to a mediator concluding in a settlement.