In October 2019, the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (“SCC”) issued revised arbitrator’s guidelines (the “Guidelines”). The Guidelines cover questions frequently raised by arbitrators on case management, costs, timelines, appointment and use of administrative secretaries, VAT issues, and the contents and structure of final awards. In addition, the Guidelines provide explanations as to the use of the new SCC Platform, which is a new secure digital communication and file sharing platform used in SCC arbitrations.

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In K v S [2019] EWHC 2386 (Comm), the English Court (the Court) dismissed a challenge to a London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) arbitral tribunal’s procedural order. The challenge was made on the grounds of serious irregularity under s68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (the Act) but was dismissed for failing to satisfy any of the s68 requirements and for challenging a procedural order rather than an award. The judgment provides a clear indication of the parameters within which a s68 challenge may be brought.

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ICC examines allocation of costs in international commercial arbitration

On 1 December, the Commission on Arbitration and ADR of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) issued a report intended to inform users of arbitration of the factors that tribunals consider when allocating costs between parties to arbitration.

A 60-strong Task Force drew on a study of over 300 ICC awards and contributions from eight other institutions (LCIA, PCA, SCC, HKIAC, CIETAC and SIAC).  The report summarises some of the trends apparent from those awards, the institutional contributions and the Task Force's experiences under different national legal systems and from arbitration practices across the world.  It therefore provides a very useful insight into the approach to costs adopted by many different tribunals in many different contexts.

The report does not endorse a particular approach on the allocation of costs in arbitration. Nor does it seek to provide rigid guidelines for tribunals to follow. However, it re-enforces that tribunals should use the allocation of costs as a case management tool, to ensure parties conduct proceedings in an expeditious and cost-effective manner.

This blog post summarises the key points in the ICC's report and the key conclusions that parties might take into account when engaged in arbitration.

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Procedural fairness as a ground for setting aside awards: what’s fair is fair

In its recent decision in Triulzi Cesare SRL v Xinyi Group (Glass) Co Ltd [2014] SGHC 220, the Singapore High Court considered the grounds on which an arbitral award may be set aside for procedural unfairness and, in doing so, reaffirmed that the Singapore courts will be reluctant to interfere with a Tribunal’s case management powers unless strictly necessary for the proper administration of justice. The Court emphasised that whilst procedural fairness and affording each party a reasonable opportunity to be heard are core principles, a balance must be struck with the needs of procedural efficiency and economy. In particular, it noted that Tribunals must not “sacrifice all efficiency in order to accommodate unreasonable procedural demands by a party“. Rather, the Court should take into account the materiality of the alleged procedural breach, including evidence of prejudice or a reasonable chance of prejudice as a result of a Tribunal’s conduct.

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ICC publishes in-house guide on effective management of arbitration

Practitioners and arbitral institutions alike are constantly looking for ways to smooth and improve the arbitral process. One of the latest contribution to this effort is a June 2014 guide from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) entitled “Effective Management of Arbitration: A Guide for In-House Counsel and Other Party Representatives” (the Guide).

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