These IDArb Recommendations for Expedited Arbitration provide suggestions which the parties and the arbitrator are invited to follow, as appropriate in the specific case, in the context of the expedited procedure, under the Swiss Rules of International Arbitration (“Swiss Rules”), for claims up to CHF 1.000.000.
The IDArb Arbitration Clause and Recommendations include, in addition to the Swiss Rules applicable to the expedited procedure, some additional features aimed at providing an even more expedited and cost-effective procedure.
The IDArb Recommendations cover the following issues:
The Recommendations are not binding: they are simply invitations to take advantage of procedural devices that can expedite the procedure and reduce costs. They imply that a party is authorized to follow them, but the other party is not bound to do the same. Thus, when a claimant makes a full statement of claim already in the Notice of Arbitration, the other party may submit a simple Answer and require that the Statement of Claim and defence be submitted after the appointment of the arbitrator. This may be reasonable under certain conditions (complicated case, need for expertise), but if the respondent wishes to shorten the procedure, he/she will be in a condition to do so.
It is of course preferable that the sole arbitrator be selected by agreement between the parties. However, this is not always easy since litigating parties tend by principle to refuse any name proposed by the other party. The possibility of choosing the arbitrator from a list of reputable persons will certainly be an advantage, but the solution can be made even easier by providing a system based on the exchange of names with preferences, such as the mechanism provided in the UNCITRAL rules.
This is proposed in Article 1 of the IDArb Recommendations.
Parties are invited to make a full Statement of Claim and Defence (and counterclaim, where applicable) with all the relevant documents and the indication of the witnesses to be examined at the hearing, in the Notice of Arbitration and respectively the Answer to the Notice, in order to avoid the need of a further exchange of briefs, so that the case can be discussed soon after the appointment of the sole arbitrator at the hearing. The basic idea is that the procedure should be concentrated in the oral hearing, without a further exchange of briefs after the appointment of the arbitrator, and that the parties should in principle submit orally their conclusions at the hearing.
The above solution should however apply only if the parties so agree and if it does not appear, after the appointment of the arbitrator, that further exchanges of briefs are necessary or appropriate. In other words, parties should know that by choosing the IDArb Arbitration Clause, they are invited to consider the above procedure, but only when this appears to be appropriate.
IDI favours recourse to mediation before getting to arbitration and during the proceedings. However, it is also advisable that, even after the parties have decided to submit the dispute to arbitration, the arbitrator can take steps in order to favour a settlement.
The actual practice regarding this issue is very different in the various legal traditions: in some countries the arbitrator will limit himself to encouraging the parties to find an agreement, in others (e.g. Germany) he will have a much more pro-active attitude.
The clause in Article 3 of the IDArb Recommendations intends to favour settlement negotiations by authorizing the arbitrator to give, upon joint request of the parties, a non-binding and provisional assessment of the case.