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International Commercial Arbitration

Arbitration Proceedings and Institutional Bodies

There are two types of arbitrations—institutional and ad hoc. Institutional arbitrations are overseen by an institutional body and controlled by arbitration rules specific to the particular institution (which can also play an administrative role), while ad hoc arbitrations are conducted by individual arbitrators, normally controlled by the particular arbitration rules agreed to by the parties in the contract of the underlying dispute and potentially any applicable national arbitration legislation.

In an institutional arbitration proceeding, the arbitration bodies will normally administer the resolution of the dispute, as opposed to resolving the disputes directly. In other words, the arbitrators are selected by the parties to the dispute (although often confirmed by the institutional body and sometimes the arbitrators are chosen by the institutional body), but the arbitrators are not part of the institutional body itself.

See below for a list (and links to) some of the major international arbitration bodies.

Major International Arbitration Institutions

1. International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”)

The ICC publishes rules of arbitration to govern ICA disputes. The 2021 version of the rules are available on the ICC website in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, and Ukrainian. Only the English and French versions are official versions.

2. London Court of International Arbitration (“LCIA”)

Arbitrations are governed by the LCIA rules, most recently revised in 2020. The LCIA provides a brief summary of the rules here.

3. International Centre for Dispute Resolution (“ICDR”)

The ICDR administers all of the American Arbitration Association’s international arbitrations. The ICDR’s rules, the ICDR International Dispute Resolution Procedures(updated in 2021), are available in EnglishSpanishFrenchGermanKoreanPortugueseChineseItalian, and Arabic.

4. Swiss Chambers' Arbitration Institution (SCAI)

The SCAI conducts arbitrations based on the Swiss Rules of International Arbitration. Copies of the rules (2012) in a variety of languages (including English, Chinese and Arabic) are available on the SCC website.

Note that the 2004 rules were based on the UNICITRAL rules (updated 2014), with some modifications. The 2012 rules struck this introductory language.

5. Vienna International Arbitral Centre ("VIAC")

VIAC coordinates arbitrations based on the VIAC Rules (updated 2018). The main advantage of the Vienna Rules is their flexibility which enables the parties and arbitrators to tailor the proceedings exactly to the needs of the parties and their dispute. The rules are reproduced in a variety of languages with an English PDF of the updated 2018 rules here and the previous 2013 rules here.

The entire VIAC website (http://www.internationales-schiedsgericht.at/) and arbitration rules are available in English, German, Czech and Russian.

6. Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre ("HKIAC")

HKIAC administers arbitrations pursuant to the HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules (updated 2018) which are available in English, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, and Russian. The English language version is the official version. HKIAC states that their rules are based on the UNICITRAL arbitration rules. The previous version (2013) of the rules can be found here.

7. China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission ("CIETAC")

CIETAC administers arbitrations in accordance with the CIETAC Arbitration Rules (updated 2014). The rules are available in English, FrenchDutchJapaneseKoreanSpanish, and Russian.

8. Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration ("CRCICA")

CRCICA administers arbitrations based on the CRCICA rules which it states are based on the UNICITRAL rules with minor modifications. Copies of the rules are available in English, French, and Arabic.

9. Stockholm Chamber of Commerce Arbitration Institute ("SCC")

The SCC administers arbitrations in accordance with its rules, the SCC Arbitration Rules (2017) or other arbitration rules agreed to by the parties to the dispute. The SCC Arbitration rules are available in English, Swedish, Russian, and Chinese, but the English version is the official version.

10. International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR)

Developing its own rules for arbitration of international disputes in 2013, the CPR's rules reflect best practices and are modeled on UNICITRAL's rules. A synopsis of key features of CPR's international arbitration rules can be found here.

Subject-Specific International Arbitration Institutions

Institutional arbitration bodies can choose to administer arbitrations dealing with a particular subject matter. The following are two of such institutional bodies:

1. World Intellectual Property Organization

The World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”) offers a variety of dispute resolution services, including arbitration, that focus on intellectual property. However, disputes of any topic may be heard by WIPO. You may view the WIPO arbitration rules here, but for more information on WIPO, please see the Resource Guide for Researching Intellectual Property Law in an International Context.

2. Court of Arbitration of Sport

The Court of Arbitration of Sport deals with sports-related disputes. The website is available in English and French and its arbitration rules (updated 2021), similarly, are available in English and French.

Recent arbitral decisions are available in English or French in .pdf format. An archive of non-confidential decisions since 1986 are in a database, also in .pdf format. One can browse decisions by sport or by year and can do keyword searching.

Ad Hoc Arbitrations

Ad hoc arbitrations are not conducted under the auspices of an institutional body--rather they are organized by the parties to the dispute.

1. UNICITRAL

The UNICITRAL Arbitration Rules are designed to be used in ad hoc arbitrations. The texts of the original rules (1976) and the updated rules (2014) are available on the UNICITRAL's Arbitration Rules page.

2. CPR

The CPR created the CPR Rules for Non-Administered Arbitration of International Disputes and Commentary, which were most recently revised in 2018.