On 29 June 2015, the LCIA published guidance notes which it hopes will enable the ‘diligent and timely conduct‘ of arbitrations under its Rules. There are separate guidance notes for parties and for arbitrators, as well as a note on the new emergency arbitrator procedure, which was introduced when the Rules were updated in 2014.
These notes provide guidance to parties, and their representatives, on conducting arbitrations under the LCIA Rules and cover everything from commencing an LCIA arbitration to confidentiality and publication of awards. The notes provide parties with an insight into the approach of the LCIA and will be an important aid for parties and legal representatives who are new to the institution.
The purpose of these notes is to provide guidance to arbitrators conducting arbitrations under the LCIA Rules. The notes cover issues such as independence and impartiality, effective management of time and cost and the arbitrator’s duties under the Rules. Interestingly, the notes suggest that arbitrators can choose to have their draft awards reviewed by the Secretariat, which will provide comments on ‘non-substantive’ issues, including costs. Although arbitrators will not be obliged to submit draft awards to the Secretariat, this does appear to evince an intention to bring certain aspects of the LCIA process in line with ICC procedure, whereby awards must be submitted to the ICC Secretariat for scrutiny before publication.
These notes give guidance to parties and their representatives on the emergency procedures available under the 2014 Rules including expedited formation of the Tribunal and the Emergency Arbitrator procedure. Importantly, guidance is given as to how the LCIA Court will decide whether the formation of the Tribunal should be expedited or whether an Emergency Arbitrator should be appointed.
The introduction of these guidance notes is to be welcomed. The notes provide practical guidance on the conduct of arbitrations under the LCIA Rules as well as commentary on substantive issues which may arise, making them an invaluable tool for both parties and their legal representatives. The guidance notes bring the LCIA up to date with most other institutional arbitration centres, and should address the historic criticism that arbitrators often fail to properly police the parties’ conduct, which by comparison would not be tolerated by a High Court judge.