The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) has adopted new Arbitration Rules and new Rules for Expedited Arbitrations, which came into force on 1 January 2017. The new rules were prepared by the Rules Revision Committee for over two years. The draft rules were discussed publicly during a hearing held on 9 June 2016 in Stockholm. The 2017 Arbitration Rules include material changes, for example, the introduction of a summary procedure and an appendix applicable to investment arbitrations.
The summary procedure provided in Article 39 of the 2017 Arbitration Rules aims at saving time and costs, in cases such as when a party has made an allegation that is manifestly unsustainable, or when a claim is unfounded as a matter of law, i.e. even when assuming the facts to be true, no award could be rendered in favor of a party. The summary procedure shall be conducted on a party’s request and does not necessarily require taking every procedural step that might otherwise be adopted for the arbitration. A request for summary procedure may concern jurisdiction, admissibility or the merits, and can be made at any point during the arbitration.
Since the SCC Arbitration Rules have been commonly used in investment disputes, the Rules Revision Committee found it appropriate to include in the new rules an appendix that applies only in treaty-based disputes between an investor and a state. Most notably, the provisions in this appendix provide that third persons and non-disputing treaty parties may request or be invited by the tribunal to make a written submission in the arbitration.
Among other major changes to the Arbitration Rules, one should note Article 39 which empowers tribunals to order a claimant or counterclaimant to pay security for costs. If a party fails to comply with such order, the tribunal has discretion to stay or dismiss the party’s claim(s) in whole or in part. There is also an amendment to the default provision on the number of arbitrators which abandoned the presumption in favor of a three-member tribunal and opted for a more flexible approach. New Article 16 of the 2017 Arbitration Rules provides that if the parties fail to agree on the number of arbitrators, the SCC Board shall decide the number, which may be one or three, depending on the complexity of the case, the amount in dispute and other relevant circumstances.
The 2017 Rules for Expedited Arbitrations include several revisions aiming to further speed up the proceedings. It is considered that the key amendment regards the manner of initiation of the case. Namely, the submission of the request for arbitration (Article 6 of 2017 Rules for Expedited Arbitrations) and the answer (Article 9 of 2017 Rules for Expedited Arbitrations) will also constitute the submission of the statement of claim and the statement of defence, respectively. According to the SCC: “With this amendment, the time used before and after the referral of the case to the sole arbitrator will be optimized. The main submissions will already be in place when the arbitrator receives the case file from the Secretariat, facilitating the management of the case for the arbitrator early on in the procedure.”
More information: http://sccinstitute.com/media/164883/main_changes_new_rules_2017.pdf
The 2017 Arbitration Rules: http://sccinstitute.com/media/168084/arbitration-rules_eng_17_final.pdf
The 2017 Rules for Expedited Arbitrations: http://sccinstitute.com/media/178161/expedited_arbitration_rules_17_eng__web.pdf