DIFC-LCIA arbitration rules modernised

Out-Law News | 13 Jan 2021 | 10:43 am | 1 min. read

New arbitration rules set by the DIFC-LCIA arbitration centre, which took effect on 1 January this year, will be welcomed by businesses seeking efficiency and flexibility in dispute resolution proceedings, an expert in international arbitration has said.

Seema Bono of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said the new rules align with international best practice and have been introduced after the LCIA adopted "progressive" new arbitration rules of its own last year. The DIFC-LCIA arbitration centre is a partnership between the Dubai International Financial Centre and the London Court of International Arbitration. 

Among the changes is wording that firmly integrates the use of electronic communications into arbitration processes. Provision is also made for hearings to take place virtually.

"It is encouraging that the DIFC-LCIA arbitration centre has continued to modernise its arbitration rules to bring them in line with international best practices, focusing on bringing greater efficiency and clarity into the arbitration process," Bono said. "The amended rules provide a robust framework for conducting proceedings virtually, thereby demonstrating the genuine flexibility of the arbitral process and its ability to embrace new technologies."

"The 2021 rules will bring a number of tangible benefits to practitioners and our clients engaged in domestic and international disputes, particularly in relation to case management, expedited proceedings, electronic communications, virtual hearings, and consolidation of proceedings. The amendments, for instance, highlight the arbitral tribunal's ability to make early determinations to dismiss claims as well as to dispense with the need for a hearing entirely. In short, the DIFC-LCIA's 2021 amendments are a welcome move and signal its commitment to promoting the efficient and stream-lined conduct of arbitral proceedings," she said.

Last November the DIFC-LCIA arbitration centre published its statistics for 2019, indicating a steady rise in the number of referrals under the rules.