“Fast-Track” International Commercial Arbitration: Proposed Institutional Rules* – Vol. 2 No. 4

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AuthorDavid C. Downie Jr.**

Published: December 1991

Commercial Disputes
Dispute Resolution and Litigation
Expedited Proceedings

Description: International commercial arbitration has not yet lived up to its potential as a method of dispute resolution. As a result of its procedural informality, arbitration is theoretically a more expeditious means of resolving disputes than litigation in a judicial forum. In the international context, however, arbitration is often plagued by procedural delays and protracted in nature. Various solutions have been proposed to expedite international commercial arbitration, including an international arbitral court of appeal, a one-year/one-arbitrator system, and mandatory preliminary meetings. Recently, a novel new solution to the problem of arbitral delay was introduced: “fast-track” international commercial arbitration.

The fast-track solution was applied for the first time in a recent arbitration reported in The American Review of International Arbitration (the “Proceedings”). The arbitration was administered by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration pursuant to a contract provision calling for fast-track arbitration, and an award was rendered a mere 7 days after the initial filing of the request for arbitration.

Fast-track arbitration shows great promise as a means of expediting international arbitral procedure. However, as recognized by several of the participants in the Proceedings, fast-track arbitration must be “institutionalized” if it is to become a viable alternative to conventional international arbitration. It has therefore been proposed that international arbitration institutions adopt optional “fast-track” arbitration rules to supplement their current rules of arbitration.

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*Notes & Comments
**J.D. Candidate, Columbia University School of Law, 1993.