The new version of VIAC Investment Arbitration Rules has entered into force from 1 July 2021. The Vienna Investment Arbitration Rules are a comprehensive, stand-alone set of arbitral rules based on the standard Vienna Rules, but with several innovations and modifications to account for the fundamental differences between commercial and investment arbitration, such as the right of non-disputing contracting States to make written statement on treaty interpretation questions. The new rules set to facilitate efficient resolution of investment disputes aim to tackle two main concerns of investment arbitration users, i.e., duration and cost.
Highlights of the Vienna Investment Arbitration Rules, 2021
- It provides a complete, stand-alone set of arbitral rules specialized to investment arbitration. The Vienna Investment Arbitration Rules, which modify VIAC's regular arbitration rules, combine a high degree of party autonomy and procedural freedom with elements that cater to the unique demands of investment arbitration.
- The Vienna Investment Arbitration Rules are meant to settle investment disputes between states, state-controlled companies, and international organizations. They do not, however, impose any restrictions on the parties or the nature of the conflict.
- Several measures address users' worries regarding the time and cost of investment arbitration. For example, awards must be delivered within six months of the last hearing or approved submission, and VIAC's Board may remove arbitrators who fail to execute their responsibilities.
- The amount in dispute determines the registration and administrative fees, which are now restricted at €1,500 and €75,000, respectively. The amount in dispute also determines the arbitrators' fees.
Investment Arbitration Rules: a closer look
Sovereign and private parties may use the Vienna Investment Arbitration Rules in any form of arbitration, including contractual and treaty arbitration, and for any dispute that has occurred or may develop between them. A party waives any entitlement to immunity from jurisdiction in the proceedings by agreeing to arbitrate under the Vienna Investment Arbitration Rules. However, a surrender of immunity from enforcement of the award would have to be declared separately in conformity with customary international law principles on State immunity. Any party may seek summary dismissal of claims, counterclaims, and defenses that are manifest: Outside the tribunal's jurisdiction; Inadmissible or without legal merit within 45 days of the tribunal's formation. A summary dismissal request must be resolved within 60 days of the latest written filing.
Each party must disclose the existence of third-party funding and the name of the source. Third-party funding is widely described as any financial or material assistance contingent on the success of the proceedings or in exchange for a premium payment, as well as gifts or grants. Funding from a party's counsel is expressly prohibited.
The tribunal may include third parties in contractual arbitrations at the request of a party or a third party. A party may also request that the VIAC Board consolidate two or more VIAC-administered arbitrations if the parties agree to the consolidation or the tribunals have the same arbitrator(s). The arbitration takes place in the exact location.
If the sum in issue exceeds €10 million, disputes are settled by panels of three arbitrators by default. Unless the VIAC Board determines differently, disputes involving smaller sums are heard by a single arbitrator. Parties can request expedited arbitration up until the Answer is submitted. The tribunal must give its final award within six months after receiving the case file in expedited processes.
If parties challenge the arbitrator within 15 days, the tribunal can still proceed with the arbitration while the challenge is pending. Tribunals have to conduct hearings in person or by online means and ensure they account for the parties' views and circumstances of the case. Tribunals must make their decisions within six months after the last hearing or permitted submission, with the Secretary-General of VIAC having the authority to extend the deadline. The VIAC Board may dismiss arbitrators who fail to execute their responsibilities on their initiative or at the request of a party.
(This Article Does Not Intend To Hurt The Sentiments Of Any Individual Community, Sect, or Religion, Etcetera. This Article Is Based Purely On The Authors Personal Views And Opinions In The Exercise Of The Fundamental Right Guaranteed Under Article 19(1)(A) And Other Related Laws Being Force In India, For The Time Being. Further, despite all efforts made to ensure the accuracy and correctness of the information published, White Code VIA Mediation and Arbitration Centre Foundation shall not be responsible for any errors caused due to human error or otherwise.)