The new ICC Rules of Mediation were unveiled today at a global launch conference attended by some of the company representatives set to benefit from the new Rules, together with leading experts in mediation and dispute resolution.
Coming into force on 1 January 2014, the new ICC Rules will replace the ICC ADR Rules that have been used for amicable dispute resolution worldwide since 2001. The new Rules have been adapted to help parties resolve even the most complex cross-border disputes quickly and reliably. Changes include the setting of mediation as the default technique, as well as increased support from the ICC International Centre for ADR, the body administering the new Rules.
Andrea Carlevaris, Director of ICC Dispute Resolution Services and Secretary General of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, who gave a welcome address at the launch event, said: “The new ICC Mediation Rules strike a good balance between two essential elements of a modern and efficient dispute resolution tool: clarity of the procedural framework and flexibility. In-house counsel and other representatives of businesses played an important role in the drafting process and made sure that the result responds to the needs of users.”
Available in eight languages, with further languages ready soon, the Rules are accompanied by a new publication for users, the ICC Mediation Guidance Note. They were revised by a taskforce of 90 specialists from 29 countries – made up of mediation users, mediators, counsel and other dispute resolution experts – and validated by ICC’s Commission on Arbitration and ADR, whose members represent some 100 countries.
Chris Newmark, who is Vice-Chair and incoming Chair of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR, and Partner, Spenser Underhill Newmark (UK), chaired the specialist taskforce and was part of a smaller drafting group that made initial revisions to the ICC ADR Rules. He said: “For me, the new ICC Mediation Rules and accompanying ICC Mediation Guidance Notes have two particularly important features. First, the Rules themselves offer simplicity by focusing on mediation rather than ADR more generally. Second, the Guidance Notes give practical guidance, enabling users and their advisers to see how ICC mediation proceedings can be organized and conducted so as to maximise the chances of a successful resolution of the parties’ dispute.”
The strong user-appeal of ICC’s Mediation Rules was highlighted in a session on “Mediation’s relevance to businesses today”, which featured Kai-Uwe Karl, Senior Counsel Litigation, GE Oil & Gas, Member of the Task Force for the Revision of the ICC ADR Rules and Abhijit Mukhopadhyay, President (Legal), Hinduja Group, London.
Hannah Tuempel, Senior Counsel and Manager of the ICC International Centre for ADR, noted the positive response from business: "The new ICC Rules of Mediation are particularly welcome because they’re built for the parties involved. When drafting them we kept in mind that the process needed to be adapted to the needs of today’s businesses worldwide. The ICC Rules are useful for all parties involved in commercial disputes, whether ICC members or not; and in all fields, from construction, to trade, and energy to pharmaceuticals.”
Ms Tuempel added: “There’s no earth-shaking new change to the rules. The old ADR rules worked but we wanted to ensure that we take into consideration our lessons learned, having administered international commercial mediation cases since 2001.”
Why the new name? When the ICC ADR Rules were drafted some thirteen years ago, they were tailored to fit all amicable dispute resolution techniques, including mediation, conciliation and other techniques. Now, with more than 90% of ICC’s cases filed since 2001 reverting to mediation, the new Rules set mediation as the default approach to reflect this reality, while still allowing parties to use other dispute resolution techniques if they prefer.
Under the new ICC Mediation Rules, the role of the ICC International Centre for ADR will be strengthened in a number of ways. It will help disputing parties to consider using mediation as an efficient way to settle their disputes, and support them in overcoming procedural hurdles before they reach the table. This includes setting the language and place of the mediation meeting, even without previous agreement.
Mediation is usually considerably faster and cheaper than other dispute resolution procedures, taking just one or two meetings with a trained mediator for parties to overcome the stalemates often encountered in direct negotiations. It also allows parties to decide the exact terms of their settlement, to help reach an outcome that respects their financial, legal, reputational and future-business interests.
Since 2001, the ICC International Centre for ADR has mediated cases worldwide involving more than 70 nationalities. Over 75% of the cases transferred to the mediator concluded with a settlement.
For more information please visit ICC Mediation Rules