On 19 December 2017, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) announced its proposal on cross-institution cooperation for the consolidation of international arbitral proceedings. The SIAC proposes the adoption of a protocol by arbitral institutions permitting the cross-institution consolidation of arbitral proceedings subject to different institutional arbitration rules.
Many arbitration rules allow for consolidation of related disputes in a single proceeding in order to ensure more efficient and cost-effective dispute resolution, whilst minimising the risk of inconsistent decisions. However, the consolidation provisions of existing institutional rules of leading arbitral institutions do not permit the consolidation of arbitrations that are subject to different sets of institutional arbitration rules (for example, SIAC and ICC arbitrations), even if they satisfy the other criteria for consolidation.
The consolidation protocol proposed by the SIAC would set out a new, standalone mechanism for addressing, among others, the timing of consolidation applications and the applicable criteria to determine when arbitral proceedings are sufficiently related to warrant cross-institution consolidation. A joint committee appointed from members of the Courts or Boards of the concerned arbitral institutions would be mandated to decide the applications, with a specific committee being appointed for each application.
Once consolidated, the proceedings should be administered only by one institution applying its own arbitration rules. The institutions participating in this initiative can agree on objective criteria to determine which institution should administer the consolidated dispute, such as the number of disputes subject to the different rules or the time of commencement of the first proceeding. The SIAC’s initiative assumes that the arbitral institutions’ rules would be amended to incorporate the consolidation protocol. In any case, the consolidation protocol would not change the current requirement that the arbitration agreements designate the same seat (the same lex arbitri applies to all consolidated proceedings).
Detailed memorandum prepared by the SIAC :
Prepared by: Aleksandra Orzeł-Jakubowska, associate, Łaszczuk & Partners