The text of the new ICC Rules of Arbitration has just been released after a revision process which has lasted nearly three years. The new rules will come into effect on 1 January 2012 and will apply to arbitrations commenced after that date unless parties have agreed otherwise.
The ICC Rules are among the most widely-used for resolving international disputes. However, arbitration law and ICC practice have evolved since the ICC Rules' last revision in 1998, and many of the changes deal with this evolution. And, despite their wide use, the ICC Rules have been the subject of criticism, some ICC-specific, some applying to international arbitration generally. Some changes to the rules aim to address this criticism.
The new rules preserve many of the "pillars" of ICC arbitration, such as Terms of Reference and National Committees for arbitral appointments, while introducing a number of key changes. These changes broadly fall into three categories: those improving ICC arbitration's efficiency; those dealing with multi-party and multi-contract arbitration; and various largely cosmetic, textual improvements. The new rules also introduce an emergency arbitrator procedure for particularly urgent interim measures.