Author: Knox Bemis*
Published: June 1991
International Institutions and Rules
Practice and Procedure
Description: The fast-track arbitration that was completed early this year was, among other things, a dramatic demonstration that even a complex proceeding can be resolved on a very short schedule. However, the successful conclusion of that arbitration was dependent on a number of factors that may not be easy to duplicate without appropriate changes in the ICC Rules. The challenge — now that it has been shown that arbitration can be completed on such a schedule — is to institutionalize the procedure so that fast-track arbitration can be a reliable alternative for contracting parties, rather than a rare event that is dependent upon special efforts by all involved.
The proceeding we dealt with was truly on a fast track, as reflected in my own experience. On December 18, 1991, I was asked if I would serve as an arbitrator; on December 19, my name was submitted; on December 20, my appointment was confirmed by the ICC. The Terms of Reference were signed December 27; briefs, affidavits, and exhibits of the parties were submitted December 30; and the hearing was held January 2, 1992. The Tribunal submitted its Award to the ICC on January 4, and the ICC confirmed it on January 7. Thus, the Tribunal’s work on the Award was completed scarcely more than two weeks after I learned I was to participate.
*Partner, Pierson Semmes and Bemis, Washington, DC.