Launch of ICCA Guidelines on Standards of Practice in International Arbitration

Nino Sievi
Nino Sievi

On 3 June 2021, the ICCA launched the Guidelines on Standards of Practice in International Arbitration, developed by ICCA’s Task Force on Standards of Practice in International Arbitration.

Civility in the practice of law is an essential attribute of maintaining the rule of law. The Guidelines originated from a concern that there have been repeated examples in international arbitration practice of conduct that falls below minimum civility standards and that the arbitration community should take action in response to demonstrate our shared commitment to practice international arbitration in a fair and legitimate manner.

The Guidelines are intended to serve as guiding principles of civility in the field, reflecting the many cultures and situations in which international arbitration is employed. While the Guidelines are not intended as mandatory rules, the Guidelines may be incorporated by parties in their arbitration agreement, adopted by arbitral institutions, or included by arbitral tribunals in a procedural order or in the terms of reference.

In total there are 16 guidelines, each accompanied by a short explanatory text. They are divided up into four chapters: i) guidelines directed at all participants (counsel, arbitrators, staff of arbitral institutions acting in the particular case, tribunal secretaries, witnesses, experts, court reporters, interpreters, translators, etc.), ii) guidelines for counsel, iii) guidelines for arbitrators and iv) guidelines for other participants.

The governing principle is enshrined in Guideline No. I.A.: “All participants shall act with integrity, respect, and civility vis-à-vis other participants in the arbitral process.” From a counsel’s perspective, Guideline No. II.A is of importance: “Party representatives shall act cooperatively with one another and the arbitral tribunal. In doing so, party representatives shall use all reasonable efforts to comply with the arbitral tribunal’s directions.”

In practice, I expect tribunal to refer to the Guidelines when assessing the procedural behaviour of a participant. Further, reference is to be expected when dealing with Guerrilla tactics. Unfortunately, the Guidelines do, however, not specify any potential sanctions for violations.

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