The WIPO Expedited Arbitration Rules: Fast-Track Arbitration I - WAMR 1995 Vol. 6, No. 11
Originially from: World Arbitration and Mediation Review (WAMR)
PRACTICE & PERSPECTIVE
The WIPO Expedited Arbitration Rules: Fast-Track Arbitration I
by Jan Paulsson, Freshfields, Paris
Editor's Note: These articles were originally presented at the
Conference on Rules for Institutional Arbitration and Mediation, Geneva,
January 20, 1995.
From the perspective of the arbitration practitioner, one may well
wonder about the seriousness of those who are responsible for drafting
international contracts. They tend to complain loud and clear about the
defects of the international arbitral process. Arbitration, they say, has
become too cumbersome, too expensive, too legalistic: in sum,
contaminated by the habits of court litigation. Put on the defensive and
consumed by guilt, arbitration specialists immediately put their minds to
the task, confer with one another extensively, and devise a remedy to show
the users of arbitration that the problem has been addressed.
The typical reaction of those who were clamouring for the solution
is to ignore it.
To take one example: in 1988, the International Chamber of
Commerce was one of the first organisations to respond to the call for
ADR as a way toward a less costly and disruptive method for resolving
contractual disputes. The ICC did this by reforming its old Conciliation
rules in a number of ways which are outside the scope of this paper.
Since then, the response has been underwhelming. Despite the
simplicity, flexibility, and low cost of the process, and more importantly
its significant success rate, parties have not rushed to benefit from this
new solution. In fact, since the new ICC Conciliation Rules came into
force, the ratio of Requests for Conciliation to Requests for Arbitration has
been less than 3%.
To take another example, in the 1970s the idea was conceived that
the international arbitral process was falling short of its promise in failing
to provide more creative solutions to long-term contracts than were
provided by the ordinary courts. In order to keep a long-term contract
alive, it may be necessary to fill gaps or even make adjustments in the
light of changed circumstances. Without the ability to have the contract
"react" to supervening changes, it may be possible to rely on the survival
of the contract for a sufficiently long period to amortise the vast