In recent years, major arbitral institutions such as the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), the Japan Commercial Arbitration Centre (JCAA) and the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (KLRCA) have made substantive revisions to their arbitration rules, with a number of common discernible trends. This article surveys a few key changes and considers their major implications.

Emergency arbitrator (EA)

An EA regime provides parties with an alternative recourse to the courts when they contemplate emergency interim relief pending the constitution of the arbitral tribunal. The EA rules allow them to make such an application directly to the arbitral institution which will then appoint an emergency arbitrator to hear the request on an urgent basis.

The EA regime is now available under the rules of the ICC (Article 29 and Appendix V of its 2012 rules), HKIAC (Article 23 and Schedule 4 of its 2013 rules), SIAC (Rule 26 and Schedule 1 of its 2013 rules), JCAA (Rules 70 - 72 of its 2014 rules) and KLRCA (Rule 7 and Schedule 2 of its 2013 rules). Under these rules, the emergency arbitrator is generally required to render his or her decision within 15 days from the date when the file is transmitted to the arbitrator (except for SIAC rules where such deadline is not explicitly stipulated).

By providing greater institutional support to the parties, the EA regime enhances arbitration as a ‘one stop shop’ for the resolution of the parties’ disputes.

Apr-Jun 2014 issue

O’Melveny & Myers