FAST TRACK ARBITRATION
The Arbitration and Conciliation Amendment Act 2015 introduced Fast Track Arbitration in India to speed up the arbitration process in India and is not regulated by ordinary rules and regulations. This concept was originally developed by the International Chambers of Commerce and has been used in a variety of cases, imbibing it in Article 30 and Annex V of the Law.
In India, the concept of fast-track arbitration means that the proceedings are to be concluded within 6 months, and there is no provision for oral proceedings, rather than written pleadings.
THE ESSENTIAL FEATURE OF A FAST TRACK ARBITRATION ARE
- It is largely governed by strict time-limit policies that both the arbitrators and the parties must comply with. This simply means speeding up the arbitral process and settling the matter in the shortest practicable timeframe.
- When the time limit is not reached then the arbitrator 's order will be revoked unless the court has extended the time limit. Unless, when extending the time, the Court determines that the delay was induced for valid reasons, then there is a reduction in the arbitrator 's fees for each month of the delay by not reaching five percent. Section 15 of the Act specified this penalty method.
- It does not include a fixed collection of elements or procedures to be followed as per ordinary arbitral proceedings, listed in the heading below, any activity that helps to resolve the issue as soon as possible is approved under fast-track arbitration.
- Often in Fast Track Arbitration Procedures, no oral hearings are necessary and depend only on written submissions.
- The parties will select a single arbitrator, and the submissions must be written in large part.
- It protects the expense, speed, and time without violating any law and often it also prevents procedures such as interviewing a witness.
HOW FAST ARBITRATION PROCEDURE DIFFER FROM NORMAL ARBITRATION PROCEDURES
- The first difference concerns the presence of three arbitrators in ordinary arbitral proceedings, each of whom appoints one arbitrator, and these two arbitrators shall appoint one arbitrator, who shall be the presiding arbitrator provided for in Section 11(3) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act with the 2016 amendments. Whereas the fast-track arbitration provides for a sole arbitrator appointed to the arbitration tribunal by the parties under Section 29B of the Act.
- For an ordinary arbitral award, the award shall be made in compliance with section 29A(1) of the Act within twelve months from the date the reference is made by the arbitral tribunal. If the award is made within six months from the date on which the arbitral tribunal joins the case, the arbitral tribunal shall be entitled to collect such additional fees as may be agreed upon by the parties. The time limit can be extended but not exceed six months. Under section 29B(4) for fast-track arbitration, the award pursuant to this section shall be made within six months of the date on which the arbitral tribunal enters the reference. If the award is not received within the stated time then the provisions of 29A, i.e. ordinary arbitral proceedings, shall apply here too.
- In a fast-track proceeding under section 29B(6), the fees payable to the arbitrator shall be as agreed between the arbitrator and the parties, and how the fees are paid. Whereas in ordinary proceedings under section 11(14), the rules regulating the payment of costs to the arbitral tribunal shall be decided by the High Court, as provided for in the Fourth Schedule of the act.
- The arbitral tribunal shall determine, in an ordinary arbitral proceeding, whether to conduct an oral hearing or to have awards awarded based on records. It is given under section 24 that oral hearing can be allowed at a specific stage by the tribunal when the party requests it. For fast-track procedures under section 29B, written submissions are relied on for proceedings and no oral hearings are accepted unless the party so requests.
LAWS REGULATING PROCEDURE FOR FAST-TRACK ARBITRATION IN INDIA
In India, the idea of fast-track arbitration came up with the recommendations of the Report of the 246th Law Commission on 5 August 2014, which applied to several cases to provide the advantages of a speedy trial. Subsequently, the 2015 Reform Act was passed, in which section 29B of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, with the introduction of changes, clarified the process involved in fast-track arbitration. 29B Addresses the process involved and the rules for fast-track arbitration to be followed.
Furthermore, the Indian Arbitration Clauses referred to in Rule 44 discuss the fast-track procedure in which the Parties may opt for Fast Track Arbitration and request that the arbitral tribunal decides on the matter within a fixed time frame of 3 to 6 months prior to the commencement of the arbitration proceedings. Here the arbitral tribunal can only decide the matter based on a written pleading without any oral hearing and can also call for clarification. An oral hearing may be held if both parties make a joint request or if, in any particular case, the arbitration tribunal deems an oral hearing necessary and the tribunal shall hear it with all measures to proceed with it promptly.