A Summary of LCIA Arbitration Procedures

The London Court of International Arbitration (the LCIA) is one of the world’s leading commercial dispute resolution institutions. It was established in 1892 and is headquartered in London. LCIA has its arbitration rules namely, LCIA Arbitration Rules (the LCIA Rules) revised in 2020. The LCIA Court and LCIA Secretariat administer and supervise the LCIA Arbitrations. The primary duty of the LCIA Court is to confirm the nominated arbitrators by the parties or itself identify arbitrator(s)for them. Then the arbitrator(s) act as the Arbitral Tribunal to deal with dispute present before it. The LCIA Secretariat administers cases on a day-to-day basis and is supervised by the Registrar. The procedural rules of LCIA provide flexibility in the arbitration procedures. With the help of our experienced arbitration lawyers, this article will summarize the LCIA arbitration procedures.

To initiate arbitration under LCIA Rules, the party wishing to initiate arbitration (the Claimant) is required to request the Registrar of the LCIA Court in writing (the request) for commencement of arbitration and serve notice to the other parties (the Respondent) under Article 4 of the LCIA Rules. The Request should contain all the facts regarding the dispute, a statement explaining the nature and circumstances of the dispute, full names, all contact details of the Claimant, and the claims claimed by the Claimant. The Request should also specify the Claimant’s choice of arbitrator(s), if the arbitrator(s) are intended to be nominated by the parties although it is the LCIA Court that finally appoints the arbitrator(s). The Claimant should also enclose the Arbitration Agreement and other relevant documents to the arbitration and pay the non-refundable registration fee determined by the LCIA Court in accordance with the Schedule of Cost. The arbitration will be considered commenced from the date the Claimant has made the Request electronically and received by the Registrar and registration fee is received by the LCIA if the registration fee is received, then the commencement date will be considered from the date mentioned on the fee receipt. The Respondent after receiving the documents regarding the commencement of the arbitration, within twenty-eight days of commencement date of the arbitration, shall respond to the claim in writing to the Registrar by accepting the claims or by denying the claim or if have objection on the nomination of the arbitrator(s) by serving notice to the Claimant. If the Respondent has any counterclaim against the Claimant, he can counterclaim it by serving notice in response to the claim. He should write his full name, all contact details and statement of confirmation or denial, specify nominated arbitrator() on his behalf in the Response. The Claimant is allowed to amend the request or correct any clerical mistake in the Request before the appointment of the Arbitral Tribunal, after that he is not allowed to make any changes. Similarly, the Respondent is allowed on the same terms.

The LCIA Court appoints Arbitral Tribunal after the delivery of Response to the Registrar, within twenty-eight days from the commencement date, if not received any Response, it will still appoint Arbitral Tribunal regardless of Response. The LCIA Court is empowered to appoint the arbitrator(s) only no third party or person is not allowed to appoint arbitrators. LCIA Court appoints one arbitrator only or according to the circumstance, it can appoint three arbitrators to form the Arbitral Tribunal. The arbitrators should be unbiased and impartial towards the parties in the arbitration. Normally the LCIA court appoints arbitrator(s) within ten working days maximum. The parties and Arbitral Tribunal are required to make contact within twenty-one days after receiving the written notification of the formation of the Arbitral Tribunal to decide procedural matters and conduct of the arbitration. The Arbitral Tribunal under The LCIA Rules can make any procedural decisions to fairly and efficiently expedite the arbitration. The LCIA arbitration follows the following steps typically:

I. Statements of Case

After receiving the notification of the formation of the Arbitral Tribunal, the claimant should send a detailed statement of the case to the Registrar within twenty-eight days. Along with the statement of the case, the claimant shall submit the documents required for the case. After the submission of the statement of the case, the Respondent is given twenty-eight days to provide the statement of defense or counterclaim against the claimant. Within twenty-eight days of receiving the statement of defense, the Claimant submits a reply to the statement of defense and counterclaim. Then further twenty-eight days are given to the Respondent to prepare and submit the final pleading, which is a reply to defense to the counterclaim.

II. Documentary Evidence 

The statements of the case should be accompanied by the relevant documents on which the Claimant and Respondent will rely in the arbitration process. The Arbitral Tribunal is authorized to order any party to produce or submit copies of documents relevant to the case in the passion or custody of the parties at any stage, It can provide a procedure to produce evidentiary documents. If essential any party can request by application the Arbitral Tribunal in order to produce any additional documents required to be disclosed.

III. Witness and expert evidence

In case any party intends to produce witnesses to rely on the evidence of the witness to support its case, it should inform the Arbitral Tribunal. The evidence of the witness will be taken in the form of a signed statement. The parties are allowed to interview the witnesses. The parties to the arbitration or the Arbitral Tribunal can request for the witness to attend a hearing for cross-examination purposes. At the first procedural hearing, the question of the expert evidence is discussed and decided and the Arbitral Tribunal asks the parties to identify the areas of dispute related to the evidence.

IV. Hearing

The personal hearing can be held at any location determined by the Arbitral Tribunal after discussing with the parties and it can be held remotely or a combination of both. The arbitral tribunal is empowered to decide whether to hold an oral hearing or not, if it deems fit it can decide against the oral hearings. The hearings can be in private if the parties agree to them. The procedure hearings are exclusively decided by the Arbitral Tribunal. The parties are allowed to be represented by one or more representatives.

V. The Award

The decision of the Arbitral Tribunal is known as the Award, which is issued within three months after the final submission. The Tribunal can issue a Consent Award as well If the parties to the arbitration jointly request for final settlement of the parties’ dispute. Such an award shows that the award is made at the joint request of the parties. Any party within twenty-eight days after receiving the award can request the Registrar for any clerical correction or any ambiguity in the Award.