CRCICA enacts new Arbitration Rules


Client Alert
15 January 2024 By DR. KILIAN BÄLZ ,FARAH FAWZY

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The Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA) has issued new Arbitration Rules (Rules) that apply as from 15 January 2024. This is the first amendment to the Centre’s rules since 2011. The Rules incorporate the changes of the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, that continue to be the basis of the Rules. Moreover, the Rules reflect developments in international arbitration on the global level by supporting digitalization and enhancing efficiency, bringing the Rules in line with international best practices.       

The Rules apply to all proceedings as from 15 January 2024 unless the parties agree otherwise. They inter alia introduce the following changes:

Online Filings and Remote Hearings

The notice of arbitration, as well as the response to the notice of arbitration, can be submitted online through the Centre’s form available at the CRCICA website (Arts. 3 (6), 4 (4)) (www.crcica.org). In the past, the submission of hard copies was mandatory.

Moreover, the Rules explicitly allow for virtual hearings. According to Article 28 (2), hearings may be held in person, remotely by videoconference or other appropriate means, or in a hybrid form. The decision is up to the arbitral tribunal, after consultation with the parties.

The Law applicable to the Arbitration Agreement

Article 36 (4) provides that the arbitration agreement shall be governed by the law of the place of the arbitration unless the parties agree otherwise in writing. In the past, the rules were silent with regard to the law governing the arbitration agreement.

In view of the amendment, parties are well advised to either agree on the law governing the arbitration agreement, or to diligently determine the place of the arbitration, as this can affect the validity of the arbitration clause.

Consolidation of Arbitrations

Article 50 of the Rules permits the Centre, upon application of one of the parties, to consolidate multiple proceedings into one arbitration. The prerequisite is that either (i) the parties so agree, (ii) the claims are brought under the same arbitration agreement, or (iii) the proceedings are based on the same legal relations, the same contract, or the same transaction or series of transactions. This gives the Centre the powers to combine parallel proceedings, hereby enhancing efficiency.

Early Dismissal of Claims

The Rules further introduce the possibility of an early dismissal of claims. The arbitral tribunal, after hearing the parties, has the powers to strike out a claim on the basis that it is manifestly without legal merit and to dismiss it at an early stage of the proceedings (Article 52). This permits the tribunal to deal more efficiently with frivolous claims.

Multiple Contracts

The Rules provide that parties can make claims arising out of or in connection with multiple contracts in one arbitration as long as the Centre prima facie does not lack jurisdiction (Article 51). This is without prejudice to any decision by the arbitral tribunal as to its jurisdiction over the claims.

Third Party Funding

A party that relies on third party funding must disclose this, and also the identity of the funder (Articles 3 (3) (i), 4 (1) (d), 53).

This is in response to the increasing importance of third party funding in international arbitration. The disclosure obligation is in line with international best practice (such as embodied e.g. in Article 11 (7) ICC Rules). It acknowledges the need for third party funding, while safeguarding transparency, due process, and avoiding conflicts of interest.

Emergency Arbitrator Rules

Article 26 in conjunction with Annex 2 of the Rules introduces Emergency Arbitrator Rules, a further novelty in the new Rules. A party may apply for urgent interim measures to the Centre, initiating recourse to an emergency arbitrator, before the arbitral tribunal has been constituted.

The Emergency Arbitrator Rules provide a supplemental mechanism for obtaining interim relief. They do not prevent a party from seeking urgent interim or conservatory measures from a competent judicial authority (Article 10 of Annex 2). The Emergency Arbitrator Rules address the need for interim measures in an early stage of the arbitral proceedings. This will make the rules more attractive for complex construction and infrastructure projects where the parties often will need a timely interim decision.

Expedited Procedures

The Rules now provide for expedited procedures pursuant to Expedited Arbitration Rules in Annex 3. The Expedited Arbitration Rules provide for a sole arbitrator (unless the parties agree otherwise) (Article 6 of Annex 3) who can issue a decision without a hearing (Article 9 of Annex 3). The decision shall be issued within 6 months as from the date of the constitution of the arbitral tribunal (Article 11 of Annex 3).

Fees

Finally, CRCICA has updated its fee schedule. CRCICA used to be a particularly cost efficient arbitration institution. The increase of fees shall strike a balance between maintaining cost efficiency for the users on the one hand and providing an attractive remuneration of arbitrators on the other hand. The new fee schedule increases the arbitrators’ fees to a level equivalent to (or above) other MENA institutions such as DIAC. The fee level remains below the fee level of the ICC.[1]

[1] By way of comparison, administrative fees and (average) arbitrator fees would be in the following ranges.

USD 1 million, sole arbitrator:
CRCICA – USD 8,400 administrative fees and USD 11,112 to 50,006 arbitrator’s fee.

DIAC – USD 10,890 administrative fees and USD 10,309 to 47,969 arbitrator’s fee.
ICC – USD 23,335 administrative fees and USD 14,627 to 64,130 arbitrator’s fee.

USD 10 million, panel of three arbitrators:
CRCICA – USD 30,000 administrative fees and USD 96,250 to 433,125 arbitrators’ fees.

DIAC – USD 27,226 administrative fees, USD 79,579 to 127,261 arbitrators’ fees.
ICC – USD 57,515 administrative fees and USD 117,501 to 562,200 arbitrators’ fees.  


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This client alert is a public document for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Readers should not act upon the information provided here without consulting with professional legal counsel. This material may be considered advertising under certain rules of professional conduct. Copyright © 2024


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