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More Parties include ICC Arbitration Clauses, the Number of CIS Disputes Rising

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CIS Arbitration Forum continues its series of interviews with representatives of major international arbitration institutions working on disputes related to Russia and the CIS region.

This month we interviewed Andrea Carlevaris who serves as Secretary General of the ICC International Court of Arbitration and Director of Dispute Resolution Services of the ICC.

Mr Carlevaris spoke about the recent trends related to disputes related to CIS countries and summarised some of the most important achievements of the ICC in 2015 which help improve services it offers to arbitration users.

CIS Arbitration Forum: Do you see any trends in the ICC commercial arbitration workload related to the CIS region?

We notice an important increase in the number of cases during the last few years, and even more markedly in the last few months. The number of gas-related disputes concerning the fluctuations of prices is also rising.

Another interesting development is the growth of cases involving contracts between parties from the CIS region including an ICC arbitration agreement. In the past, such clauses were more rare, and reference to ICC arbitration was more commonly found in contracts between companies from the CIS region and companies from Western Europe.

As for investor-State arbitration, we had two cases (one still pending) involving parties (either a State or an investor) from CIS countries. Moreover, a recent internal study revealed that a growing number of intra-CIS BITs include the ICC as a possible forum.

CIS Arbitration Forum: What is the ICC doing to improve services it offers to users?

In 2015, the ICC has implemented several measures to improve its services to users. To respond to the growing claim for transparency in international arbitration, the Court has decided to provide reasons for various administrative decisions, including decisions on challenges of arbitrators, preliminary jurisdictional decisions under Article 6(4) of the Rules and consolidations.
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The reasons for these decisions will be communicated to the parties upon their agreement.

Also in 2015, the ICC Commission for Arbitration and ADR, which is the body in charge of revising the various sets of rules administered by ICC Dispute Resolution Services and adopting policy documents on dispute resolution, has completed its work on various projects.

The Commission has completed revision of all the rules administered by the institution (other than the Arbitration Rules, revised in 2012) by adopting new ICC Expert Rules under which the ICC Centre for ADR can propose or appoint experts, or administer expert proceedings. The Commission also finalised the Dispute Boards Rules and Docdex Rules which represent a specific type of documents only expertise procedure in financial matters. Thus, the ICC offers a large choice of up-to-date rules to its users, who are free to choose from them and to combine them as they deem fit.

In December 2015, the Commission released its Report on the Allocation of the Costs of Arbitration. This is an extensive and accurate study of numerous arbitral awards rendered under several different arbitration rules, which shows how cost allocation can be used as a case management tool to sanction dilatory or unethical conduct and reward efficient conduct by parties and counsel.

To administer cases involving CIS countries, particularly Russian parties, the ICC Court has put in place a compliance system, which allows the Court to administer the cases despite its duty to comply with international sanctions. Details about the compliance system are available on the ICC website.

One of the nine case management teams of the Secretariat is specifically devoted to cases involving parties from Eastern Europe and the CIS region.
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To improve our services to users, our team does its best to be responsive to the parties, even in some medium or small cases, which present procedural challenges such as the absence of external counsel, or the involvement of counsel speaking no or little English.

CIS Arbitration Forum: Any new initiatives related to the CIS region for the nearest future?

The Court regularly organises events, seminars and training in the region in cooperation with its national committees.
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An annual conference is organised in Moscow by ICC Russia. Moreover, the ICC Institute for International Business Law, in cooperation with the Court, launched a couple of years ago an ICC International Arbitration Advanced Academy for Central and Eastern Europe.

This two-year programme organised in 8 modules taking place in 8 different cities in the region targets young arbitrators. The initiative was prompted by the observation that, in a fast-growing area such as Eastern Europe, there is a dearth of young qualified arbitrators. The last cycle of the Academy finished last week and proved very successful.

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