On 1 January 2015, the new CIETAC Arbitration Rules (“2015 CIETAC Rules”) came into effect.
According to CIETAC, its rules have been revised in an effort to adapt to newest developments in international arbitration practice and to better accommodate the parties’ needs. This newsletter provides an overview of the key changes.
Single arbitration under multiple contracts (Article 14)
The 2015 CIETAC Rules permit a Claimant to initiate a single arbitration concerning disputes arising out of or in connection with multiple contracts, provided that:
Joinder of additional parties (Article 18)
Under the 2015 CIETAC Rules, a party may file a Request for Joinder with CIETAC on the basis that the arbitration agreement invoked in the arbitration prima facie binds the additional party. The Request for Joinder will be decided by CIETAC, not the arbitral tribunal.
Consolidation of arbitrations (Article 19)
Consolidation of parallel CIETAC arbitrations into a single arbitration has already been possible under the existing CIETAC Rules where all parties agree to the consolidation. The possibility to consolidate is further extended under the 2015 CIETAC Rules which give CIETAC the power to consolidate, at the request of a party, two or more arbitrations under the 2015 CIETAC Rules into a single arbitration if:-
Emergency Arbitrator (Article 23.2 and Appendix III)
Many international arbitration institutions, such as the HKIAC, ICC, SIAC and LICA provide the possibility of appointing an emergency arbitrator.
The 2015 CIETAC Rules follow this trend in international arbitration by permitting a party to apply to the CIETAC Arbitration Court for emergency relief pursuant to newly introduced CIETAC Emergency Arbitrator Procedures (in Appendix III to the 2015 CIETAC Rules).
If the CIETAC Arbitration Court decides to apply the Emergency Arbitrator Procedures, its President shall appoint an emergency arbitrator within one day from receipt of both the application and advance payment of the costs for the Emergency Arbitrator Procedures.
The emergency arbitrator may decide to order or award necessary or appropriate emergency measures. The decision of the emergency arbitrator shall be binding upon both parties. The emergency arbitrator’s powers and the emergency arbitrator proceedings cease upon formation of the arbitral tribunal.
However, the Arbitration Law of Mainland China does not (yet) allow for enforcement of emergency relief granted by an emergency arbitrator. Instead, emergency relief is to be obtained from the Chinese state courts. Accordingly, CIETAC’s Emergency Arbitrator Procedures will, at least for the time being, be relevant mainly to arbitrations administered by the CIETAC Hong Kong Arbitration Center (“CIETAC HK”) where emergency relief granted by an emergency arbitrator – whether in or outside Hong Kong – is enforceable, with the leave of the court, in the same manner as an order or direction of the court.
Summary procedure available where amount in dispute does not exceed RMB5m (Article 56)
Application of the summary procedure under the 2015 CIETAC Rules will be extended to arbitrations where the amount in dispute does not exceed RMB5m. Under the existing CIETAC Rules the threshold is RMB2m (around US$325,000).
In comparison, under the Rules of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), the threshold for the expedited procedure is around US$3.2m.
Special provisions for Hong Kong arbitration (Articles 73 to 80)
In September 2012, CIETAC HK was established. CIETAC HK is a sub-commission of CIETAC and CIETAC’s first branch outside Mainland China.
In Chapter VI of the 2015 CIETAC Rules, new provisions are introduced which apply only to arbitration cases administered by CIETAC HK. These new provisions state, amongst others, that:
Other revisions of note include: