Fast-Track Arbitration - Chapter 13 - Practical Guide to International Arbitration
Originally from Practical Guide to International Arbitration
Sometimes, to be of value to in-house counsel, dispute resolution must be conducted as quickly as possible. Business matters move quickly, and it can be of equal importance to shareholders and management that disputes be resolved in an expedient manner as well. In those circumstances, in-house counsel may decide to submit disputes to an accelerated arbitration process, often referred to as “fast-track arbitration.”
While an accelerated arbitration process might be ideal for some situations, it is not well suited for all cases. A speedy result is achieved by sacrificing process. Parties to a fast-track arbitration therefore must be prepared to accept less time to prepare and present their case and/or fewer or simplified procedural steps. Moreover, all parties must accept such abbreviated procedures. When all parties agree and the right arbitrators are chosen, it is possible to organize an arbitration to obtain a final and binding arbitral award quickly.
When parties place a premium on the fast resolution of their dispute, they might also consider mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”). Where both parties are, in good faith, motivated and prepared to accept the result of a neutral process, ADR can be effective and deliver results faster and at a lower cost than any form of arbitration or litigation, “fast-track” or otherwise.
“Fast-track arbitration” refers to an expedited arbitration procedure designed to yield a final award in a short period of time. There is no standard form of fast-track arbitration. Faster results are achieved simply by shortening time periods for the parties to present their case and for the arbitrators to deliver the award. In some cases, the parties agree to eliminate or to curtail certain procedures, such as making requests for document production or conducting witness examinations at oral hearings.
International arbitration rules do not include detailed procedures that must be applied. While certain customary practices have emerged for the organization of cases, parties and tribunals retain the freedom to customize procedures to accommodate the needs of individual cases. This includes the freedom to establish procedures to ensure a fast process. For that reason, even without specialized institutional rules for expediting procedures, parties and tribunals may agree to short time frames and simplified procedures for a “fast-track arbitration.”