A global comparison of international arbitration rules on new claims

Out-Law Analysis | 24 Jan 2023 | 4:51 pm |

For most parties, initiating an arbitration is seen as a worst-case scenario.

There is, however, an even worse scenario: having claims struck out because they were not brought to the tribunal timely enough, meaning that the only possible way to have these claims heard is to start another arbitration. Our arbitration specialists across the globe discuss how to avoid the spectre of ‘new claims’ and how to ensure that all claims are heard during the course of a single arbitration.

Several arbitration rules rely on the concept of the Terms of Reference (ToR) to set a procedural milestone after which submitting new claims is made difficult. However, several other jurisdictions and arbitration rules do not recognise the concept of the ToR and rely more heavily on the parties’ agreement and the tribunal’s duty to assess the appropriateness of the timing and scope of any claims which were not submitted in a timely enough manner.

  • France

    In ICC arbitration, the ToR is the key document in the identification of the claims to be addressed by the tribunal. The ToR follows the submission of the request for arbitration by the claimant; the submission of the answer to the request by the respondent; and the appointment of the Tribunal. According to Article 23(1)(c) of the ICC Rules, the ToR must include “a summary of the parties’ respective claims and of the relief sought by each party”.

    Article 23(4) of the ICC rules of arbitration states that “[a]fter the Terms of Reference have been signed […], no party shall make new claims which fall outside the limits of the Terms of Reference unless it has been authorized to do so by the arbitral tribunal, which shall consider the nature of such new claims, the stage of the arbitration and other relevant circumstances”. As is made clear by this provision, a party presenting ‘new claims’ after the signature of the ToR faces a clear risk: that the tribunal does not authorize these new claims to be heard in the arbitration, leaving the party with the uncomfortable and expensive prospect of having to start another arbitration.

    ‘New claims’ under ICC rules

    ICC tribunals have rejected ‘new claims’ after the signature of the ToR in the following scenarios:

    • where the new claims were based on entirely new facts, or arose out of a separate contract;
    • where the new claims were introduced at a very late stage of the proceedings, and would have caused significant disruption to the arbitral process in particular when providing the opposing party with sufficient time to respond would have led to unreasonable delays and additional costs.

    In contrast, a mere change in argument, which does not vastly impact the relief requested, will generally not be considered to amount to a new claim. Moreover, the ‘new claims’ provision does not bar a party from seeking interim or conservatory relief in accordance with Article 28 of the ICC rules.

    How to avoid the spectre of new claims

    When drawing up a request for arbitration, parties should take the time to review their relationship with the opposing party as a whole, to ensure that all potential claims have been identified and assessed. It is not necessary that every and all claims be listed in the request for arbitration, however parties should ensure that they have a full understanding of their position in time for the signature of the ToR.

    Careful case assessment at the earliest stage is vital. A case assessment should involve the ‘first responders’ on the scene when a dispute arises, i.e. the persons who will give witness testimony in the arbitration. This is to ensure that a party gets its case theory right as early as possible. Unfortunately, there are situations where a full case assessment is not possible at the early stages of a dispute – for instance when starting an arbitration in a hurry is necessary due to limitation. In this case, careful drafting should be used in the ToR and the subsequent procedural order to give as much leeway as possible for the introduction of new claims.

    For queries related to France, contact Florian Quintard and Anne de Mazières of Pinsent Masons.

  • Spain

    The rules of the Madrid International Arbitration Centre (MIAC) directly address the addition or introduction of new claims once the arbitration proceedings have started. Article 28(4) of the MIAC rules states that: “Upon the signing of the terms of reference, or upon approval thereof by the Centre, the parties shall not bring any claims falling outside of the scope of the terms of reference, unless the arbitral tribunal allows them to do so. When deciding on this matter, the tribunal will take into account the nature of the new claims, whether they arise from new events, the stage of the proceedings and any other relevant circumstances.”

    The ToR is issued by the arbitrators after the request for arbitration and the reply to the request for arbitration have been submitted, and prior consultation with the parties. It requires the parties to offer a succinct description of their main position.

    In light of the restriction posed by Article 28(4) of the MIAC rules, it is crucial to pay special attention and gather expert legal advice upon approaching and drafting these initial statements. For example, a substantial alteration of the object of the main claim – such as invoices not related to the disputed facts – or a delayed introduction of the evidence, could endanger the admission of the new claim.

    Special care should therefore be placed when drafting a new claim and when deciding which new claims to introduce. For example, if a claim relates to an ongoing contract where invoices will continue to be issued despite the initiation of the arbitration proceedings, an open statement could be included in the request for arbitration, whereby the claimant requests payment of not only the existing pending invoices at the date of the request, but also those that may be issued and not paid during the course of the arbitration

    By contrast, the Spanish Arbitration Act provides the parties with one more tool for introducing new claims into pending arbitration proceedings. Article 29(2) of the Act states: “Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, any of them may modify or expand their claim or statement of defence during the course of the arbitration procedure, unless the arbitrators deem it inappropriate due to the delay in which it was made.” This rule reaffirms the flexibility of the arbitration process in comparison with judicial proceedings, as well as the importance of the agreement of the parties.

    For queries related to Spain, contact Sofia Parra Martinez, Begona Charro and Cristina Alcalá of Pinsent Masons.

  • United Arab Emirates

    The position on new claims in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) depends on several factors, including in particular which of the three different UAE seats dictates the law applicable to the arbitration proceedings: the ‘onshore’ UAE or one of the ‘offshore’ free zones. The onshore arbitration law and those of the offshore free zones, as well as the two main domestic institutions – the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) and the Abu Dhabi Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration Centre (ADCCAC) – all permit new claims to be introduced after the commencement of arbitration proceedings. However, this is subject to the tribunal’s discretion, having regard to the delay in introducing the claim and issues of procedural fairness in terms of the opposing party’s ability to respond to the claim. 

    To regulate this aspect, it is common practice in the region for a ToR to be agreed between the parties and the tribunal at the first procedural conference to define the nature and extent of the claims to be determined in the arbitration. The ToR requires the parties to identify at an early stage any further claims that they wish to bring in the arbitration to the extent not already identified in the arbitration. It also limits the ability of the parties to seek to introduce wholly new claims later in the proceedings if, for example, a party knew or ought to have known of that new claim at the outset of the arbitration.

    Ad hoc arbitration

    The UAE Federal Arbitration Law, Law No.6 of 2018 (FAL) governs arbitrations seated in onshore UAE and is the default procedural law. Article 30(3) of the FAL states: “Unless otherwise agreed by the Parties, a party may, during the course of the arbitral proceedings, amend or supplement its claim or defence or file a counterclaim, unless the Arbitral Tribunal considers it inappropriate to allow such amendment having regard to the delay in settling the dispute or its remit. The decision of the Arbitral Tribunal shall take into account procedural due process”.  

    In the event the claim is made early, and the opposing side is provided with sufficient time to respond to the new claim, the tribunal is likely to admit the new claim as it is less likely to impact the “procedural due process” of the arbitration. However, if the application is made late – i.e. after the parties have exchanged pleadings or after the hearing has commenced – the introduction of a new claim is more likely to produce a situation of procedural unfairness as the opposing side will have to respond to a changed case late in the day and the tribunal might therefore deny the application.

    The Dubai International Financial Centre

    The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Law No.1 of 2008 is the procedural law applicable to all proceedings seated in the DIFC. Article 30(2) of the law states: “Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, either party may amend or supplement his claim or defence during the course of the arbitral proceedings, unless the Arbitral Tribunal considers it inappropriate to allow such amendment having regard to the delay in making it.”

    One method by which the parties and the tribunal may control the period within which new claims can be submitted, or existing claims may be amended, is by the agreement of a procedural order or ToR recording the issue at an early stage in proceedings.

    DIAC Arbitration

    Under the 2022 DIAC rules, the parties are not allowed to introduce a new claim at a late stage unless permitted by the tribunal. Article 24.3 of the DIAC rules states: “After the submission of the statement of claim, statement of defence and any counterclaim, no party shall make new claims or counterclaims, unless permitted to do so by the Tribunal or so agreed by the parties”.

    Article 24(3) of the DIAC rules provides that in its decision on whether to admit new claims, the tribunal “shall consider the nature of such new claims, the stage of the arbitration, the delay in making them, the prejudice that might be caused to the other party any other relevant circumstances”. The tribunal therefore has broad discretion in deciding on the admission of new claims and will consider the “stage of the arbitration” and the “delay” in making the application. The tribunal will also seek to avoid undue delay to the arbitration and will not allow a claim which causes disadvantage by producing an unfair position to the opposing party if the application is granted.

    The ADCCAC

    The ADCCAC is a division of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Under Article 21 of the ADCCAC rules, no new claims can be introduced by the parties unless this is agreed by the tribunal. The ADCCAC rules provide the tribunal with guidelines and discretion in determining whether it should allow the introduction of new claims. The rules list two specific matters: the nature of the amendment and the stage of proceedings. The tribunal is required to take into account all relevant circumstances and those considerations are likely to encompass matters of due process and delay to the resolution of the disputes which apply under the other domestic rule and the UAE arbitration law discussed above.

    For queries related to the UAE, contact Jed Savager and Melissa McLaren of Pinsent Masons.

  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    Arbitration is becoming an increasingly popular method of dispute resolution in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the enactment of the Arbitration Law in 2012 and the establishment of the Saudi Centre for Commercial Arbitration (SCCA). They are largely based on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITAL) arbitration rules. It is common practice for the tribunal and the parties to agree a ToR at the outset of the arbitration to define the scope of the claims to be determined in the arbitration which serves to more closely regulate the introduction of new claims later in the proceedings.

    Ad Hoc arbitration

    Article 32 of the Saudi Arbitration Law states that “Either party to the arbitration may amend or supplement his claims or defence during the arbitration proceedings, unless the Arbitral Tribunal considers it inappropriate, so as to prevent any disruption of the examination of the dispute”. The tribunal has wide powers of discretion, but is required to adopt fair procedures which are appropriate and adapted to the circumstances of the cases.

    In circumstances where an application is made to introduce a new claim following the exchange of pleadings and witness evidence, the tribunal is unlikely to permit the introduction of new claims to prevent “disruption of the examination of the dispute”. However, if the new claims are permitted by the tribunal, the other side will be given the opportunity to make consequential amendments to its pleadings to address whichever new claims are permitted.

    The SCCA

    Article 8 of the SCCA rules, which governs the introduction of new claims, states: “…a party may amend or supplement its Claim or defense, including a counterclaim or a Claim for the purpose of a set-off, unless the Tribunal considers it inappropriate to allow such amendment or supplement having regard to the delay in making it or prejudice to other parties”. Therefore, there is a risk that an application which seeks to introduce a new claim will be refused by the tribunal if it is made late, or there is a perceived prejudice to the opposing side if the application is granted.

    Again, the tribunal enjoys a broad discretion under Article 8 of the SCCA rules and there are two distinct questions in determining whether the application should be granted: was the party “delay[ed]” in making the application, and will the application cause a “prejudice to the other party”? However, as a safeguard the tribunal’s broad discretion permits it to disallow new claims having regard to the stage of arbitration and in the event that granting the application produces a procedural unfairness which might imperil the award.

    For queries related to Saudi Arabia, contact Jed Savager and Amin Ameer of Pinsent Masons.

  • England and Wales

    Unlike the ICC rules, the rules of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) do not require parties to agree on ToR or an equivalent document. Instead, the arbitral tribunal has wide ranging powers relating to the structure of the arbitration.

    Section 38 (1) of the 1996 English Arbitration Act (EA Act) notes that: “the parties are free to agree on the powers exercisable by the arbitral tribunal” and Article 22.1 of the LCIA rules states that the arbitral tribunal “shall have the power to allow a party to supplement, modify or amend any claim, defence, counterclaim, cross-claim, defence to counterclaim, defence to cross-claim and reply, including a Request, Response and any other written statement, submitted by such party”.

    Therefore, while the LCIA rules do not contain specific guidelines relating to bringing new claims, the ability to do so will be decided by the tribunal. In exercising these powers, the tribunal is subject to various duties under Section 33 of the EA Act and Article 14.1 of the LCIA rules. These include the duty to act fairly and impartially; and the duty to give each party “reasonable opportunity of putting its case and dealing with that of its opponent and a duty to adopt procedures suitable to the circumstances of the arbitration, avoiding unnecessary delay and expense, so as to provide a fair, efficient and expeditious means for the final resolution of the parties’ dispute”.

    Consequently, when bringing new claims in the course of an LCIA arbitration, it is likely that the tribunal, when determining whether to allow the new claim, will have regard to whether allowing new claims has been permitted under the powers of the tribunal as agreed by both parties; and whether allowing the claim will conflict with the duties of the tribunal under the EA Act and the LCIA rules.

    For queries related to England and Wales, contact Clea Bigelow-Nuttall of Pinsent Masons.

  • Singapore

    The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) rules appear, at first glance, to be more permissive than the ICC rules as to whether and when new claims may be introduced. SIAC 2016 Rule 20.5 allows for the amendment of claims except where the tribunal considers it is inappropriate to do so “having regard to the delay in making it or prejudice to the other party or any circumstances” or where “the amended claim … falls outside the scope of the arbitration agreement”. It appears that whether to introduce a new claim at any time of the proceedings is entirely within the tribunal’s discretion, subject to appropriateness and the claim falling within the scope of arbitration agreement.

    Nonetheless, as with the ICC rules, very similar considerations go into whether the tribunal would allow for the introduction of new claims under the SIAC rules. Commentaries on SIAC Rule 20.5 – and the similarly-worded Article 22 of the 2010 UNCITRAL arbitration rules – noted that amendments may be inappropriate where, for instance:

    • there has been a significant delay such as to prejudice the other party by depriving it of an opportunity to defend itself – for example, where an amendment is made after the case has been heard on the merits – and;
    • there is an introduction of a new claim based on factual circumstances wholly different from those in the original claim.

    It is also noted that the earlier in the proceedings the new claim is introduced, the more likely it will be allowed.

    Given that considerations of appropriateness are very highly dependent on the specific circumstances and are left to the tribunal’s discretion, parties face a certain level of uncertainty when seeking to introduce new claims under SIAC Rule 20.5. Such risks could be avoided by ensuring all claims are included, or at least not precluded, right from the start in the notice of arbitration and the statement of claim with early involvement of key witnesses and careful drafting.

    For queries related to Singapore, contact Wynne Tay of Pinsent Masons.

  • Hong Kong

    There are no rules prohibiting parties from adding new claims in arbitrations seated in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR). The default position – under the Section 51 of Arbitration Ordinance (Cap. 609), adopting the UNCITRAL model laws, and Article 18.1 of the 2018 HKIAC Administered Arbitration (HKIAC) rules – is that parties may amend or supplement their claims unless the tribunal considers it inappropriate having regard to the delay it would cause or to the circumstances of the case. The HKIAC rules further provide that any amendments must be within the tribunal’s jurisdiction.

    To ensure that all claims are heard in the same arbitration, parties are encouraged to carefully consider and formulate their claims prior to commencing their arbitration. However, if new claims need to be introduced, amendments should be made in a timely manner.

    Tribunal’s jurisdiction

    The arbitration agreement and underlying contract and subsequently the notice of arbitration, define the claims which can be referred to arbitration, and thus, the jurisdiction of the tribunal. Any new claims that do not fall within the scope of the notice of arbitration will therefore have to be asserted separately in a new arbitration, unless the parties agree to extend the tribunal’s jurisdiction under an ad hoc agreement.

    In the recent case of Maeda Corporation and another v Bauer Hong Kong, the Hong Kong SAR courts found that the tribunal should not have allowed the new claim raised by one of the parties, since that claim had not been notified at the appropriate time under the terms of the parties’ contract. 

    Exercise of the tribunal’s discretion

    The principles that tend to govern a tribunal’s exercise of its discretion to allow new claims include:

    • whether there would be any manifest or grave injustice;
    • the ability to compensate the disadvantaged or inconvenienced party with an appropriate costs order;
    • the time between the introduction of the new claim and the hearing date, so as not to impact the hearing;
    • whether the new claim is outside the tribunal’s jurisdiction; and
    • whether the new claim is time barred.

    Overall, arbitral tribunals observe an overriding requirement of fairness when deciding whether to admit new claims.

    For queries related to Hong Kong contact Nicholas Turner and Jennifer Wu of Pinsent Masons.

  • Australia

    Article 23(2) of the Model Law, which is given the force of law by the International Arbitration Act 1974 (Cth) and applies to all Australian-seated international arbitrations, permits either party, unless otherwise agreed, to amend or supplement its claim or defence during arbitral proceedings “unless the arbitral tribunal considers it inappropriate to allow such amendment having regard to the delay in making it.” Both the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA) and the Resolution Institute have rules governing amendments that are in similar terms to Article 23(2) of the Model Law, though with some additions.

    Both the ACICA and Resolution Institute rules prohibit amendments that would result in the amended claim falling outside the tribunal’s jurisdiction. Further, both institutions permit an arbitrator to consider, in addition to delay, prejudice to the other party more generally or any other circumstances that the tribunal considers relevant when determining if an amendment is appropriate. Relevant circumstances in this context would likely include, as they do in domestic litigation, the nature and importance of the amendment to the applicant, the stage that the proceedings have reached relative to the final hearing and the explanation provided for a late amendment.

    A procedural complication that has sometimes arisen in domestic litigation and which is expressly dealt with in the Resolution Institute Rules, though not ACICA’s, is the ‘Eshelby principle’. This principle, which has been displaced in most, though not all, Australian jurisdictions, prevents a party amending its claim to include causes of action that have accrued after the date on which the proceedings were commenced. The Resolution Institute Rules expressly permit such adjustments and provide, in Rule 22.1, that amendments may be allowed “notwithstanding that the effect is to add or substitute a cause of action arising after the commencement of the arbitration.”

    For queries related to Australia, contact Sadie Andrew and Scott Ivey of Pinsent Masons.

  • Qatar

    Article 23(5) of Qatar's arbitration legislation – Law 2 of 2017 – provides that “Unless the Parties agree otherwise, each Party may amend its claims or aspects of its defence, or complete the same during the course of the proceedings, unless the Arbitral Tribunal has decided not to accept such amended claims in order to prevent any delay in determining the dispute”. This rule is similar to the one found under the UNCITRAL Model Law, on which Qatar’s arbitral law is largely based.

    The introduction of new claims is also addressed by the 2012 rules of the Qatar International Centre for Conciliation & Arbitration (QICCA). Article 23 of the QICCA rules states that: “During the course of the arbitral proceedings, a party may amend or supplement its claim or defence, including a counterclaim or a claim for the purpose of a set-off, unless the arbitral tribunal considers it inappropriate to allow such amendment or supplement having regard to the delay in making it or prejudice to the other party or any other circumstances.”

    The introduction of new claims is thus permitted under QICCA, however the tribunal has discretion not to allow it, particularly if doing so will cause delay to the overall proceedings or prejudice to the other party. The tribunal may also take new claims into account when apportioning costs.

    Given the relative infancy of Qatar’s arbitration law, there is limited information available regarding the extent to which parties have been permitted to introduce new claims in existing arbitration proceedings governed by the QICCA rules to date. However, past experience suggests that Qatar-seated tribunals operating under Qatari law tend to want to find a way to allow all known claims into the proceedings, in an effort to resolve the whole of the dispute and avoid any remaining items unresolved between parties.

    This is, of course, balanced against the need for due process, which will often be of particular concern in Qatari-seated arbitrations to guard against any risk to the validity of the award. Tribunals must also remain mindful of the overriding requirement to conduct proceedings efficiently, emphasised in Article 18.7 of the QICCA rules. Best practice is to properly evaluate all possible claims and counterclaims early on, and before commencing arbitration proceedings, to avoid the risk of them not being allowed in and/or the risk of the award being challenged if they are.

    For queries related to Qatar, contact Pamela McDonald and Katie Bremner of Pinsent Masons.

  • South Africa

    The institutional rules of the Arbitration Foundation of South Africa’ International Rules (AFSA Rules) do not have an express provision dealing with the introduction of new claims. The rules however do provide the Arbitral Tribunal with a broad range of powers in conducting the arbitral proceedings, as provided for in Article 15 of the AFSA rules.

    Article 15.5(a) therefore provides the tribunal with the power to grant a party the opportunity to “supplement, modify or amend any claim”. Although the tribunal is granted the power to do so, it may only do so where both parties have been given a “reasonable opportunity” to state their views, as provided in Article 15.5. This is underpinned by the tribunals overarching duty to “act fairly and impartially between all parties, giving each a reasonable opportunity of putting its case and dealing with that of its opponent(s)” as provided for in Article 15. 2(a).

    It is accepted that the use of the words “supplement [and] modify” enables the parties, or the tribunal, to allow new claims to be added to the arbitration in question, even after the initial submissions have been submitted.

    The above is supported by the power granted in Article 15 (1) of the AFSA Rule’s which provides that the “Arbitral tribunal may conduct the proceedings in such manner as it considers appropriate”. Such considerations can extend to where the parties in question have an ongoing relationship and such additional claims may be warranted, even after the arbitration has been commenced, and additional matters – that relate to the dispute but differ from the claims previously filed – arise.

    Accordingly, and though not expressly stated, the AFSA rules do provide parties with the possibility of instituting new claims – subject, however, to the tribunals’ duty to conduct an efficient arbitration proceeding.

    For queries related to South Africa, contact Andrew Fawcett, Thethe Mokele, and Kyle Melville of Pinsent Masons.

  • Germany

    The requirements for adding new claims to arbitral proceedings are, in comparison with other jurisdictions, rather liberal under both the arbitration rules of the German Arbitration Institute (DIS) and German arbitration law. The 2018 DIS rules do not provide for any restrictions on the introduction of new claims. Instead, they presume, as a matter of course, that new claims can be submitted by the parties at any time during the proceedings.

    Article 4.3 of DIS rules only establishes formal requirements for the submission of new claims prior to the constitution of the arbitral tribunal: “A party filing […] any additional claims prior to the constitution of the arbitral tribunal shall send to the DIS, for transmission to each party, one paper copy thereof, as well as any attachments thereto, in addition to the electronic copy required by Article 4.1”.

    Further requirements only have to be fulfilled if the additional claim does not arise from the same contractual relationship. Pursuant to Article 17 of the DIS rules, such claim may only be resolved in the same arbitration if the parties’ mutual agreement to do so can be established.

    Much stricter requirements for bringing additional claims apply if the parties have agreed to apply the DIS-supplementary rules for corporate disputes. Its Article 6.1 stipulates that “the extension of the claim to other resolutions, is only admissible with the consent of all Concerned Others.” This exception to the generally unlimited admissibility of new claims under the ordinary DIS rules is due to the specificity of disputes relating to shareholder resolutions.

    German arbitration law is also fairly permissive with respect to adding claims at a later stage of an arbitration. Section 1046 (2) of the German Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) stipulates that the parties may amend or supplement their claims unless the arbitral tribunal does not allow such amendments or supplementations “due to a delay which is not sufficiently excused.”

    The key criterion for an unexcused delay within the meaning of section 1046 (2) of the CCP, is whether the new claims not only could, but should have been introduced earlier if the proceedings had been conducted diligently and efficiently by the submitting party. Typically, a new claim is belated, but not necessarily unexcused, if the submitting party fails to meet a specifically set deadline. This is where the focus of the new DIS Rules on procedural acceleration and time- and cost-efficiency may have an impact.

    Article 27.2 of the DIS rules requires the arbitral tribunal to hold a case management conference with the parties within 21 days of the constitution of the arbitral tribunal, which must include the determination of a procedural timetable. The dates set out in the timetable can thus provide indications as to when the latest submission of new claims can be expected from a party conducting the proceedings diligently and efficiently.

    There may also be situations in which it could be favourable to agree on a specific deadline for the submission of new claims as part of the case management conference, especially in situations when an arbitration is started in a hurry and a full case assessment is not possible at the early stage.

    Against this background, in the absence of specific cut-off dates, new claims in proceedings under the DIS rules may in principle still be raised at a late stage of the proceedings. Thus, new claims run the risk of being rejected as inadmissible arguably only if the submitting party obviously acts with the intention to delay the proceedings. Nevertheless, the parties are well advised to introduce their additional claims as early as possible to give the tribunal sufficient time to adequately assess them.

    For queries related to Germany, contact Alexander Shchavelev and Carlo Schick of Pinsent Masons.

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