Procedural Matters Checklist - Chapter 9 - International Arbitration Checklists - 3rd Edition
Originally from International Arbitration Checklists - 3rd Edition
Under institutional arbitration rules and the laws of the primary arbitration centers, arbitrators and parties are free to craft the procedures they wish to follow.
Parties may exercise their latitude in pre-dispute arbitration clauses that they write into their contracts. A pre-dispute arbitration clause will typically recite: (i) the arbitral institution under whose rules the arbitration is to take place, such as the Rules of the ICC, the ICDR, the JAMS International Rules, or the Rules of the LCIA, etc.; (ii) the number of arbitrators; (iii) the place of arbitration; and (iv) the language in which the arbitration is to be conducted. But a pre-dispute arbitration clause need not stop there. Clauses that provide for such things as the method of selecting arbitrators, the establishment of limited or broad document discovery, the setting of time limitations on the procedure that must be employed, establishing the availability of provisional measures and stipulating for confidentiality are commonly, but not necessarily, found in dispute resolution clauses.
Contracting parties, however, most often opt to not provide for detailed procedures, as it is impossible to know at the contracting stage whether such procedures may ultimately be favorable or unfavorable to the proposing party. Most parties, therefore, rely on standard language – language that typically does not bind them to various procedures that they may live to regret once a dispute arises.
The clauses most parties use typically name only an administering institution, set the place of arbitration, the language of the arbitration, and the number of arbitrators. A governing law clause in the contract typically will recite the substantive law to be applied to the merits of the dispute. This law is to be differentiated from the law applicable to issues relating to the effectiveness or scope of the arbitration clause itself, which in practice is usually governed by the law of the place of arbitration, which may or may not be the same law as the choice of substantive law.
The administering institutions have standard dispute resolution clauses that are used by the majority of contracting parties that include the above elements. If the parties intend to opt for institutional arbitration, it is advisable to stick to the standard clauses in order to avoid an ambiguous arbitration clause which might turn out to be pathologic.