Authors
Nick Storrs

Nick Storrs

Partner

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Jack Robirosa

Jack Robirosa

Associate

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Authors
Nick Storrs

Nick Storrs

Partner

Read More
Jack Robirosa

Jack Robirosa

Associate

Read More

7 October 2020

Disputes Quick Read – 3 of 23 Insights

Disputes Quick Read: Why the modernised LCIA rules are a welcome update

  • Quick read

On 1 October 2020, the London Court of Arbitrations brought in updated rules that modernise the way LCIA arbitrations are conducted and bring the rules into line with current trends. 

Overall, we think these are positive changes that will help support the efficient determination of disputes, for the reasons outlined below.

Making multi-contract disputes more efficient

The first notable improvement in the LCIA's rules relates to multi-contract disputes. Following the decision of A v B [2017] EWHC 3417 (Comm), multi-contract disputes couldn't be started in a single process. This was problematic, as disputes between the same parties can often concern multiple independent contracts. Fortunately, the rules now invite parties to address all issues in a single reference, driving efficiency and cost saving.

Speeding up the early determination process

The rules around the early determination process have also been updated for the better. Tribunals now have the power to expedite proceedings by limiting written statements and witness evidence, and by making early determinations in scenarios where cases are advanced which are "manifestly without merit" or outside the arbitral jurisdiction. Although it's yet to be seen how often these powers will be used, we believe that Tribunals being empowered to dispose of claims quickly in appropriate circumstances is undoubtedly the right call. 

Embracing virtual hearings

Finally, the updated rules acknowledge the use of virtual hearings and electronic communications, both of which have proven vital during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the LCIA has said that the pandemic hasn't instituted a change of focus, it has "allowed the LCIA to address explicitly some changes in good practice". Either way, clearer rules over electronic filings and communication (Article 4), and the express provision for the Tribunal to order a virtual hearing (Article 19), are welcome additions to the framework, in our view. 

Find out more

A more in-depth analysis of the LCIA's updated rules is available here. If you'd like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article in greater detail, please contact a member of our Disputes and Investigations team.

In this series

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Disputes Quick Read: Care required when drafting SPA claim notices

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Disputes Quick Read: The latest on Unexplained Wealth Orders

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Disputes Quick Read: Tomlin Orders – ensuring the confidentiality of settlement terms

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Disputes quick read: climate change activism by litigation

by Multiple authors

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Disputes quick read: pilot error?

by Andrew Howell

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