October 22, 2009
Australian Arbitration Rules
Simon Greenberg, Luke R. Nottage, and Romesh Weeramantry have posted The 2005 Rules of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration - Revisited to SSRN.
A decade ago, leading arbitration institutions and practitioners responded to growing concerns about burgeoning costs and delays in international commercial arbitration ("ICA") partly through some considerable changes to Arbitration Rules. Nowadays, however, disquiet has re-emerged especially about costs. Some point to parallels with civil procedure reforms in various national court systems since the 1990s. Those may have accelerated processes, but front-loading costs does not necessarily reduce them significantly.
Arbitration institutions are again responding to similar concerns about ICA. Some have published new Expedited Arbitration Rules, Mediation Rules, or encouraged renewed debate about more controversial measures to minimise costs such as Arb-Med (arbitrators encouraging settlement). Some institutions (like the ICC) have also instituted new rounds of reforms to their generic Arbitration Rules. Sometimes, Rule changes have followed amendments to arbitration legislation in the relevant jurisdiction (as in Japan). The Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration ("ACICA") also unveiled Arbitration Rules in 2005, and then Expedited Arbitration Rules in 2008. All these recent developments are occurring as UNCITRAL proceeds with revisions to its 1976 Arbitration Rules, designed initially for ad hoc arbitrations but influential also among many arbitration institutions.
It is therefore useful for the broader development of ICA to make more widely accessible this updated overview of the 2005 ACICA Arbitration Rules, comparing developments in many major arbitral institutions world-wide. The paper is particularly timely because the ACICA Rules will be used by hundreds of mock arbitrators and advocates in the 17th Vis Moot, to be held in Vienna and Hong Kong around March 2010. This event has become one of the most important in the ICA world, training not only a new generation of arbitration experts but also exposing more established experts to new developments and ideas. Both aspects are essential to the vitality of ICA and its perennial quest for an optimal balance between efficiency and procedural justice.