Effective March 1, 2021, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) amended a number of its International Dispute Resolution Procedures. The amendments impact several areas of the ICDR arbitration rules: use of technology; decision-making and administrative powers; joinder and consolidation; efficiency; and ethical obligations. With respect to the use of technology, Article 22 and Article 26 (formerly Article 23) expressly allow for use of video, audio, or other electronic means (“Video”) for use throughout the hearing process. Article 26 specifically directs that all or part of a hearing may be held by Video, as long as it will not compromise the rights of any party to a fair process. This includes witness examination. Article E-9 also acknowledges online hearings under the expedited procedures. All told, these amendments clarify the allowance for online arbitration (“OArb”) – eschewing old notions requiring that hearings be in person.
Furthermore, Article 22 expressly requires that arbitrators discuss cybersecurity, privacy, and data protection with the parties in order to maintain an appropriate level of security. Article 32, formerly Article 29, also approves electronically signed orders and awards unless a physical signature is necessary according to law, party agreement, or tribunal discretion.
At the same time, the amendments clarify or expand the powers of the tribunal and the International Administrative Review Council (IARC). IARC thereby has the power to make decisions regarding arbitrator challenges, continuing service of an arbitrator, disputes regarding the number of arbitrators, the place of arbitration, and whether administrative filing requirements have been met.
For more, see Ann Ryan Robertson & Alan R. Crain, The 2021 ICDR International Dispute Resolution Procedures, AMERICAN ARBITRATION ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR DISPUTE RESOLUTION 1, 3 (Effective Mar. 1, 2021) available here.
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