Flo Health Improper Data Usage
25 October 2021

Entry into Force of UNCITRAL Expedited Arbitration Rules 2021

Expedited arbitration provides for a faster and more cost-effective resolution of disputes where the small value and less complex disputes which arise mostly between small and medium-sized companies are often heard by a sole arbitrator, and the parties are allowed few submissions. Under the streamlined procedure of expedited arbitration, the final award is issued within a strict timeframe, often 3 months. As a general rule, an expedited arbitration is less expensive and conducted with reduced scales of fees. The award is issued in the absence of a hearing and on the basis of documents which typically contributes to a quicker dispute resolution. However, a hearing may be held only if a party so requests and/or if the arbitrator considers it appropriate.

Expedited arbitrations may appear in both ad hoc and institutional proceedings. A number of arbitration institutions have specific rules on expedited arbitration. Under most rules, the expedited procedure will apply according to a monetary threshold, meaning that the amount in dispute shall be less than a specified amount to be able to be referred to expedited procedure. For instance, under ICC Rules, the expedited arbitration procedure is applicable in cases where the amount in dispute does not exceed US$2 million or US$3 million depending on the date of the arbitration agreement — unless the parties decide to opt out or the ICC Court of Arbitration considers it inappropriate in circumstances.

The first expedited arbitration procedure was introduced by the Geneva Chamber of Commerce in 1992. Many other international arbitration institutions have inserted expedited arbitration provisions in their rules. The American Arbitration Association (AAA), Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC), Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) are amongst the most popular arbitration institutes where conducting arbitration in an expedited setting is possible.

While United Nations Commission on International Trade Law ("UNCITRAL") is known for its significant role in arbitration, leading to instruments such as the UNCITRAL Model Law and the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, UNCITRAL has been behindhand with the expedited arbitration. The Rules for Expedited Arbitration was launched on 9 July 2021 and entered into force on 19 September 2021. The Commission also adopted the draft Explanatory Note to the UNCITRAL Expedited Arbitration Rules which was supposed to be finalized by Working Group II during its session, due in September 2021 in Vienna.

The application of UNCITRAL expedited arbitration procedure is not tied to a fixed financial threshold and is only possible if the parties explicitly express their consent. Such consent can be reached before or after the dispute arose. The Expedited Arbitration Rules consist of 16 articles the text of which is an integral appendix to the 2021 Arbitration Rules and must be read in conjunction with such Rules. Article 1 of the Expedited Rules lists the provisions of the revised UNCITRAL Rules that do not apply in expedited arbitration.

Similar to other expedited arbitration rules, UNCITRAL Expedited Rules provide for a single arbitrator, unless otherwise agreed by parties. In addition, the tribunal may decide that no hearings shall be held, in the absence of a request from a party.

The notice of arbitration constitutes the claimant’s statement of claim and the respondent has 15 days to file its response to the notice of arbitration. If the parties reach agreement on the arbitrator, the tribunal is constituted within 15 days. The tribunal is trusted with the broad discretion to extend any period of time, with the exception of the timeframe for the issuance of the award which shall be made within 6 months. However, the tribunal may under exceptional circumstances extend the period of issuance of the award after the parties’ agreement. In any case, the overall extended period of time shall not exceed nine months from the date of the constitution of the arbitral tribunal, unless otherwise agreed by the parties.

Expedited arbitration provides for a faster and more cost-effective resolution of disputes where the small value and less complex disputes which arise mostly between small and medium-sized companies are often heard by a sole arbitrator, and the parties are allowed few submissions. Under the streamlined procedure of expedited arbitration, the final award is issued within a strict timeframe, often 3 months. As a general rule, an expedited arbitration is less expensive and conducted with reduced scales of fees. The award is issued in the absence of a hearing and on the basis of documents which typically contributes to a quicker dispute resolution. However, a hearing may be held only if a party so requests and/or if the arbitrator considers it appropriate.