Holding the Fort until the Arbitrators are Appointed: The New ICDR International Emergency Rule - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 61, No. 2
Mr. Sheppard is a “distinguished lecturer” and director of the A.A. White Dispute Resolution Center at the University of Houston Law Center. He was, until his retirement, a partner in the Houston office of Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. and co-chair of the firm’s International Dispute Resolution Practice. He chaired the American Arbitration Association task force that drafted the May 2006 revisions to the International Arbitration Rules discussed in this article. Mr. Townsend is a partner in the Washington office of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP and chairs its Arbitration and ADR Group. He is chairman of the Executive Committee of the American Arbitration Association. He also served on the committee that drafted the Optional Rules for Emergency Measures of Protection in the AAA’s Commercial Arbitration Rules.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
The ICDR, a division of the American Arbitration Association, amended its International Arbitration Rules, effective May 1, 2006, to provide for the appointment of an emergency arbitrator to handle requests for interim arbitral relief prior to formation of the arbitral tribunal. This article discusses the rationale for this change in the rules.
The International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR)1 has amended its International Arbitration Rules, effective May 1, 2006, to include a new rule providing for the appointment of an emergency arbitrator to take up requests for emergency relief that may be needed prior to the formation of the entire arbitration panel. Allowing a party to obtain such relief from an arbitrator provides an alternative to seeking interim relief through the courts. This article will discuss the reasons for the new rule and its principal features.
The Case for an Emergency Arbitrator Procedure
To place the issue in context, consider two hypothetical cases:
Case 1: Assume a commercial contract between parties from different countries with a broad arbitration clause specifying that all disputes arising from or related to the contract shall be decided by three arbitrators, two of whom will be appointed by each party and the third appointed by the two party-appointed arbitrators within 30 days after the appointment of the second party-appointed arbitrator. Assume further that arbitration has commenced and the entire arbitral tribunal has been appointed. Also assume that one of the parties argues that it needs emergency interim relief.