The introduction of the ICC Expedited Arbitration Procedure Rules (“Expedited Procedure Rules”) was one of the main innovations of the 2017 amendments to the ICC Arbitration Rules. Expedited arbitration differs from a standard arbitration proceeding, as it provides a simplified procedure, with the goal of diminishing time and costs while promoting efficiency in international arbitration.
The ICC is not the only institution providing a framework for an expedited arbitration procedure. The American Arbitration Association Rules, the Istanbul Arbitration Center Arbitration Rules, the Arbitration Rules of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre International Arbitration Rules, and the Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration Rules, have also adopted expedited arbitration rules.
What Is Expedited Arbitration?
An expedited arbitration procedure is a relatively recent mechanism offered by arbitral institutions aiming to reduce time and cost for low-value disputes. The goal is to shorten the duration of arbitration proceedings through a simplified procedure. For instance, the Expedited Procedure Rules require the expedited procedure to be conducted by a sole arbitrator with the objective of obtaining an award within a fixed timeframe. The Expedited Procedure Rules also provide for a reduced scale of arbitrator fees compared to a standard ICC arbitration. Finally, the Expedited Procedure Rules invite the parties and the sole arbitrator to limit requests for document production, the length and scope of written submissions, the examination of witnesses and experts, and the holding of a hearing.
The Expedited Arbitration Procedure Rules
- the amount in dispute does not exceed USD 2,000,000, if the arbitration agreement was concluded on or after 1 March 2017 and before 1 January 2021; or
- the amount in dispute does not exceed USD 3,000,000, if the arbitration agreement was concluded on or after 1 January 2021; or
- the parties agreed to opt in, irrespective of the date of conclusion of the arbitration agreement or the amount in dispute (the expedited arbitration procedure remains open to higher-value disputes when the parties agree to apply it).
In the final case, the parties may add the following wording to their arbitration agreement:
The parties agree, pursuant to Article 30(2)(b) of the Rules of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, that the Expedited Procedure Rules shall apply irrespective of the amount in dispute.
On the other hand, according to Article 30(3) of the ICC Rules, the Expedited Procedure Provisions do not apply if:
- the arbitration agreement was concluded before 1 March 2017;
- the parties expressly agreed to opt out of the Expedited Procedure Rules in the arbitration agreement or at any time thereafter;
- the Court, upon the request of a party before the constitution of the arbitral tribunal or on its own motion, determines that it is inappropriate in the circumstances to apply the Expedited Procedure Provisions.
As for the constitution of the arbitral tribunal, according to Article 2(1) of Appendix VI of the ICC Rules, the Court may appoint a sole arbitrator, irrespective of any term to the contrary or the number of arbitrators specified in the arbitration agreement:
The Court may, notwithstanding any contrary provision of the arbitration agreement, appoint a sole arbitrator.
Arbitrations with a sole arbitrator tend to be both swifter and less costly.
Article 2(2) of Appendix VI of the ICC Rules further provides that the parties may also nominate the sole arbitrator within a time limit fixed by the Secretariat:
The parties may nominate the sole arbitrator within a time limit to be fixed by the Secretariat. In the absence of such nomination, the sole arbitrator shall be appointed by the Court within as short a time as possible.
Moreover, as a matter of simplification, there is no requirement to agree on and prepare terms of reference. Article 3(1) of Appendix VI of the ICC Rules provides in this regard that:
Article 23 of the Rules shall not apply to an arbitration under the Expedited Procedure Rules.
In the same vein, pursuant to Article 3(3) of Appendix VI of the ICC Rules, the case management conference must take place within 15 days from the date on which the file is transmitted to the arbitral tribunal:
The case management conference convened pursuant to Article 24 of the Rules shall take place no later than 15 days from the date on which the file was transmitted to the arbitral tribunal. The Court may extend this time limit pursuant to a reasoned request from the arbitral tribunal or on its own initiative if it decides it is necessary to do so.
According to Article 3(4) and Article 3(5) of Appendix VI of the ICC Rules, the tribunal has discretion to decide the case on documents only, with no hearing, no document production, and no examination of witnesses or experts. If the tribunal decides to apply these procedural measures, it has the discretion to limit the number, length and scope of written submissions and written witness evidence (for both fact witnesses and experts).
Article 4(1) of Appendix VI of the ICC Rules also sets forth a six-month time limit for the arbitral tribunal to render its final award in order to avoid delays and increase efficiency:
The time limit within which the arbitral tribunal must render its final award is six months from the date of the case management conference. The Court may extend the time limit pursuant to Article 31(2) of the Rules.
Finally, Article 4(2) of Appendix VI of the ICC Rules provides that the fees of the arbitral tribunal must be in accordance with the reduced scale determined by the Rules in order to ensure a cost-effective procedure:
The fees of the arbitral tribunal shall be fixed according to the scales of administrative expenses and arbitrator’s fees for the expedited procedure set out in Appendix III.
To conclude, using the expedited arbitration procedure will typically result in a swifter method of settling low-value disputes than the standard ICC arbitration procedure. It is also less costly: although the administrative expenses charged by the ICC for expedited arbitration procedures remain the same as those under the standard procedure, arbitrator’s fees are approximately 20 per cent lower as compared to those under a standard ICC arbitration.
 2021 ICC Rules, Appendix VI, pp.76-78.
 2021 ICC Rules, Article 30(2), p.36.
 2021 ICC Rules, Article 1(2) Appendix VI, p.76.
 2021 ICC Rules, Article 30(3), p.36.
 2021 ICC Rules, Article 2(1) Appendix VI, p.77.
 2021 ICC Rules, Article 2(2) Appendix VI, p.77.
 2021 ICC Rules, Article 3(1) Appendix VI, p.77.
2021 ICC Rules, Article 3(3) Appendix VI, p.77.
2021 ICC Rules, Article 3(4) Appendix VI, p.77.
 2021 ICC Rules, Article 3(5) Appendix VI, p.77.
2021 ICC Rules, Article 4(1) Appendix VI, p.78.
 2021 ICC Rules, Article 4(2) Appendix VI, p.78.