Recent amendments to the arbitration rules of US-based institutions

By Kiran N Gore

Over the last few months, several global arbitration institutions have introduced amendments to their arbitral rules. In the US alone, both the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) have introduced and implemented such amendments.

In November 2013, the AAA issued new Arbitration Rules and Mediation Procedures for use in commercial matters (the ‘Commercial Rules’), which are available for use in domestic and international disputes, administered either by the AAA or the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (IDCR). The Commercial Rules incorporate substantial revisions, including the availability of immediate injunctive relief, the availability of dispositive motion practice, greater arbitrator control over the discovery process and a new appellate review procedure. Each of these developments are responsive to a perceived need for additional relief mechanisms during an arbitration.

Specifically, Rule 9 now mandates mediation for arbitrations involving disputes concerning a claim for more than $75,000 (£45,000). Rule 22 limits discovery to documents ‘relevant and material to the outcome of the disputed issues’. While this requirement is generally consistent with the frequently used IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration, it is narrower than the requirements imposed by the rules used in US federal courts and provides a benchmark more in line with international standards. Rule 22 further empowers arbitrators with greater control over the discovery process. Finally, Rules 23, 38 and 58 work together to provide mechanisms for emergency relief and sanctions against a party for failure to comply with the rules or an arbitrator’s instructions…

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