This year, two major European arbitration institutions, the Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC) and the German Institution of Arbitration (Deutsche Institution für Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit) (DIS), revised their arbitration rules. The VIAC Rules 2018 entered into force on 1 January 2018 and the DIS Rules 2018 entered into force on 1 March 2018. While the revisions were carried out independently, they have the same goal: to broaden the application and appeal of the rules to new audiences. They achieve this by updating the rules to keep them in line with international standards, particularly regarding efficiency.

Broadening the application and appeal of the rules

Both the VIAC Rules 2018 and the DIS Rules 2018 have been amended to attract new audiences. Interestingly, they do this in opposite ways. While the VIAC is moving into the domestic arbitration market, the DIS is focusing on increasing its presence in international arbitration.

Following the introduction of the necessary legislative changes, the VIAC is now permitted to administer purely domestic arbitrations as well international arbitrations. Article 1 of the VIAC Rules 2018 accordingly provides that the VIAC may administer “national and international arbitrations”. This amendment brings the VIAC into line with other German-speaking arbitration institutions, including the DIS.

Although the DIS has always administered both domestic and international arbitrations, it has traditionally attracted a German audience. In a bid to increase its appeal to non-German parties, the DIS Rules 2018 have been amended to stress their application to international arbitration. Accordingly, Article 1.1 now expressly states that the rules apply “to both domestic and international arbitrations”. The DIS has also for the first time introduced an authentic English version of the rules as well as an English-language commentary.

Oct-Dec 2018 issue

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP