The International Court of Arbitration, a branch of the International Chamber of Commerce (‘ICC’), has renewed its ‘Note to Parties and Arbitral Tribunals on the Conduct of Arbitration’, of which the latest updates have come into force on 1 January 2019. The aim of these amendments was to improve the transparency and efficiency of the conduct of arbitration, and further, to push the ICC rules of arbitration to compete with the ICSID rules.
For arbitrations registered on and after 1 July 2019, the new rules require the ICC court to disclose firstly, the industrial sector that the parties are involved in, and secondly, the identity of the counsels representing the parties. In the case of confidential proceedings, the disclosure requirement will be subject to the consent of the parties.
The amended notes also include a clarification into the nature of the independence and impartiality in disclosures. According to the notes, disclosures by arbitrators should cover the parties to arbitrations, their affiliates and any non-parties that have an interest in the final outcome. Clearly, in making these clarifications and adjustments, the ICC is trying to provide mechanisms that ensure the whole process of arbitration under the ICC rules becomes more transparent.
The role of the secretariat in the running of the arbitration has also been expanded. Under the new amendments, parties or co-arbitrators can seek help from the secretariat in appointing the third sole-arbitrator. The secretariat can either make suggestions about suitable appointees or carry out requested research into the experience, availability, or possibility of conflict of interests of the suggested appointees. This mechanism is hoped to increase the efficiency of the arbitration process.
* Rouein Momen is an ADC intern currently studying Arts/Law at UNSW. He is also writing an honours’ thesis on Marxist Critical Theory.