Arbitration at the SIAC – Expedited Procedure & Multiple Parties
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu
Arbitration at the SIAC is not brain surgery. You do not need years of study to be able to participate in one. But like almost everything that we do, it is something which requires time, experience, effort and application if you want to do it well.
This article looks at certain aspects of arbitration that may be overlooked but which could be important to the outcome of your case.
Rule 5 – Expedited Procedure
Under Rule 5 of the SIAC Rules 2016, a party may make an application for an Expedited Procedure if:
a. The amount in dispute does not exceed $6,000,000. This is calculated as the total of the claim, counterclaim and set-off/ defence; or
b. The parties agree; or
c. The case on one of exceptional urgency.
As with service of the Notice of Arbitration and Response, the party making the application for Expedited Procedure needs to serve the application on the other party. The applying party must let the Registrar know the manner of service employed and the date of service on the other party.
This application is filed prior to the arbitral tribunal being formed so the President of the SIAC will decide on the application for Expedited Procedure. If the President agrees with the Expedited Procedure application, Rule 5 states that the:
a. The Registrar of the SIAC may expedite timelines;
b. A sole arbitrator shall hear the case unless the President states otherwise;
c. The Tribunal may consult with the parties and decide on issues such as whether the matter is to be determined on documentary evidence only, whether a trial is required for the examination of witness/ expert witness and oral arguments;
d. The Award shall be granted within 6 months of the constitution of the Tribunal unless the Registrar extends this time. This will only be done in exceptional circumstances; and
e. The Tribunal may give the final award in a summary form. Parties are also free to agree that the Tribunal need not give reasons for the final award.
The Expedited Procedure can be a very useful and economical means of conducting an arbitration provided the criteria to proceed on this basis is met.
Rule 6 – Multiple Contracts
Where the arbitration at the SIAC between the parties arises out of or is in connection with more than one contract or agreement, Rule 6 gives the Claimant the option of:
a. File separately a Notice of Arbitration for each arbitration agreement being relied on and at the same time, make an application to consolidate the separate arbitrations; or
b. File a single Notice of Arbitration for each arbitration agreement being relied on. The Notice of Arbitration has to specify each contract and arbitration agreement being relied on and why consolidation should be allowed. Consolidation is dealt with in Rule 8 and will be the subject of another article. In such case, the Claimant will be seen to have initiated separate arbitrations, a separate one for each arbitration agreement relied on and the Notice of Arbitration filed under this Rule shall be taken as an application to consolidate under Rule 8.
In cases where the application to consolidate is not successful, the Claimant will have to make payment of the filing fee as per the Rules for each arbitration that has not been consolidated.
As with the Expedited Procedure, consolidation where there are Multiple Contracts is very useful in saving time and money if the circumstances allow.
Unlike most of the Rules, the Expedited Procedure and consolidation where there are Multiple Contracts are matters that are perhaps not intuitive. You need to know specifically about these Rules before you can proceed with the applications. Make sure you engage a counsel who knows the SIAC Rules. This will allow you to strategize with the proper tools and tactics available to you, thereby allowing you to save time and money.
* From the SIAC Rules, 6th Edition
Please note that this article does not constitute express or implied legal advice, whether in whole or in part. If you require legal advice, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.