Have you ever found yourself tangled up in lengthy arbitration proceedings, draining your time and resources? Well, fear not! In this article, Andreia Dumitrescu, our Partner with expertise in domestic and international arbitration, will briefly explore the main techniques that can help keeping these costs in check and speed up the process.
Arbitration: The Preferred Dispute Resolution Method
Arbitration has long been hailed as the go-to method for resolving disputes swiftly and cost-effectively. It is like having your very own private tribunal, with one or more independent arbitrators. But here is the kicker – the flexibility and control of the arbitration process rest primarily in the hands of the parties involved, even before any conflict arises.
Tailoring the Arbitration to Your Needs
Picture this: you are sealing a business deal with high hopes for a harmonious partnership. The last thing on your mind is a potential dispute that could throw things off balance. However, just like in personal relationships where divorce rates remain high, business conflicts are also a possibility.
At the contract’s inception, savvy business partners can opt for clear and straightforward arbitration clauses. This will save time and money with lengthy procedures dealing with contesting the jurisdiction of the tribunal or arbitrability of the matters in dispute.
Moreover, parties can decide which issues will be subject to arbitration, while other urgent matters might be resolved through faster court proceedings or specialized bodies. This could entail solving urgent matters, taking precautionary measures and recovering uncontested debts faster. Who knows your business needs better than you?
Also, the number of arbitrators is of great importance! Depending on the value and complexity of the contract, the disputes may be solved by one or more arbitrations but keep in mind that three arbitrators cost more than one.
Place of arbitration is usually determined in relation to the law applicable but not always. Place of arbitration is however a key when choosing the arbitrators and even the legal counsels as such impacts the procedural rules followed in arbitration and then after the very annulment procedures. Remember that the place of arbitration is not to be mistaken with the place where the hearings are held, if any hearings are established in arbitration.
Hearings must be held in a most convenient and less costly place for both parties, for example, in the country where both parties and/or their counsel resides. The parties may agree on this in the arbitration clause but they can do this even during the proceedings. Otherwise, the arbitral tribunal may conduct hearings and meetings at any location it considers appropriate.
A final important piece of advice: conducting arbitration in the same language as your contractual relationship can save you both time and money. It makes sense because an important part of your costs in arbitration are translation costs. It is like using the right tools for the right job. Also, language barriers can lead to misinterpretations and prolonged translations, so it’s best to avoid that hassle.
Choosing the Right Players
But how to assemble your dream team for arbitration? This is all about making the right choices. Specialists in arbitration or specific branches of it are well-versed in the procedures, rules, and customs. They know which tools to use for each case, ensuring a smooth sailing process.
Besides this, what is even more important in most of the cases is to opt for local arbitrators who understand the business environment and the applicable laws. They can navigate the waters like seasoned sailors, making the whole experience more efficient and cost-effective.
And when it comes to experts, be careful not to go overboard! Overqualified experts might prolong the process, and underqualified ones can lead to technical snags. Finding the perfect fit is crucial.
Streamlining the Process
Some of the main culprits behind extended arbitration procedures are usually long submissions, excessive document exchanges, unnecessary requests for disclosure of information, and delaying tactics. Most arbitration rules don’t explicitly limit the number of submissions parties can make. So, it is up to the parties to determine together with the arbitrators from the outset (i.e., in the terms of reference in ICC arbitration or even with the occasion of procedural timetables).
Focus on communicating the essential points to the arbitrators and selecting the most relevant information. Nobody wants to drown in a sea of paperwork. Make life easier for everyone involved.
Remember, early understanding of the issues at hand is key! By addressing the disputes’ core at the onset, arbitrators can lay the groundwork for a swift resolution and guide the parties in the right direction.
What if the other party insists on prolonging the arbitration process? Arbitrators have the power to intervene and keep the process on track. With their guidance, you can prevent unnecessary delays and maintain momentum.
Conclusion: Mastering the Art of Cost-Efficient Arbitration
To achieve swift and budget-friendly arbitration, remember these crucial steps:
- Draft clear and concise arbitration clauses from the start.
- Be open to agreeing on essential procedural aspects with the other parties.
- Handpick the right arbitrators, lawyers, and experts for your specific case.
- Focus on presenting the relevant evidence to keep things on track.
The effect of following these steps? No more sinking in endless proceedings or spending a fortune to navigate the waters of dispute resolution.