Higher fees - from 1 January 2017
The fees charged by the ICC have now increased:
- the non-refundable fee charged for filing a request for arbitration – this has increased from US$3,000 to US$5,000
- the maximum allowable administrative expenses charged – these have increased across the board, so for example where the amount in dispute exceeds US$500 million (the top of the scale), the maximum allowable expenses has increased from $113,215 to $150,000.
New expedited procedure – from 1 March 2017
From 1 March 2017, when the 2017 update to the ICC Arbitration Rules comes into force (see the ICC website here), a new expedited arbitration procedure will apply to cases where the amount in dispute does not exceed US$ 2 million, unless the parties decide to opt out.
It only applies to arbitration agreements concluded after 1 March 2017, but it will automatically apply to qualifying cases (unlike expedited procedures offered by other arbitral institutions where the parties have to apply to use the expedited procedure). Parties with higher-value cases can opt-in to the expedited procedure.
The key points of the expedited procedure are that:
- the ICC Court may appoint a sole arbitrator, even if the arbitration agreement provides otherwise;
- there are no Terms of Reference; and
- the procedure has its own reduced scale of fees.
The new procedure is likely to be applied in a significant number of ICC arbitrations, since ICC statistics show that about one-third (32%) of the 801 new cases filed in 2015 with the ICC Court of Arbitration involved claims with an amount in dispute below US$2 million.
This new procedure is a welcome development and good news for all users of the ICC as the expedited procedure should provide a more speedy and cost-efficient arbitral process.
Other changes introduced in the March 2017 update to the ICC Arbitration Rules include:
- reducing the time limit for establishing Terms of Reference from two months to one month; and
- providing for the court to give reasons for a wide range of important decisions if requested by one of the parties.
These changes are also welcome improvements to the speed and transparency of ICC arbitrations.