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ICSID Publishes Working Paper on Proposed Amendments to Rules and Regulations

Monthly Wrap: News, insights & analysis from Arent Fox's International Arbitration team.

ICSID Publishes Working Paper on Proposed Amendments to Rules and Regulations

Ucheora Onwuamaegbu.

On August 3, 2018, the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) published details of proposed changes which “update ICSID’s existing rules for arbitration, conciliation and fact-finding, and introduce a new set of mediation rules.” Equally significant among the many novel ideas being proposed are provisions for security for costs, optional expedited arbitration, and a requirement for parties to declare third party funding and for arbitrators to disclose any relationship they may have with the funder.
 
These proposals, the most far-reaching in over 50 years, are set out in ICSID’s three official languages, in three volumes totaling over one thousand pages (Vol. 1: Synopsis; Vol 2: Consolidated draft Rules; and Vol. 3: Working Paper).  Pages  1 to 19 of Vol. 1 contain a summary, in English, of the proposed changes, while the remaining 53 pages contain the French and English versions. 
 
ICSID will receive written comments on the proposals until December 28, 2018. The proposals will require two-thirds majority votes of ICSID’s 50-member Administrative Council to pass and could come into effect sometime in 2019.

Read the ICSID Announcement

Mexico Becomes Party to ICSID Convention

Lee M. Caplan

Following its accession to the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID Convention) in January 2018, the Mexican government has now completed its domestic ratification process, thus bringing the agreement into force vis-à-vis Mexico. After the Mexican Senate approved the Convention in April 2018, Mexico’s outgoing president, Enrique Peña Nieto, endorsed the Convention on August 21, 2018, an act which took effect on August 26, 2018. Mexico is the 154th country to become a party to the ICSID Convention.

Read Former President Peña Nieto’s Endorsement

Ecuador Re-Opens Door to International Arbitration

Claudia Hartleben

On August 21, 2018, the National Assembly of Ecuador amended its Investment Law. One of the notable modifications is Article 37, which provides that the State must agree to arbitrate all disputes in connection with investment contracts valued over USD 10 million.

The Law opens the door for both domestic and international arbitration, but in case of the latter, it must be in accordance with: (i) UNCITRAL rules and administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, (ii) International Chamber of Commerce Court of Arbitration, or (iii) Inter-American Commercial Arbitration Commission.
 
The amendment to the Investment Law follows Ecuador’s new model Bilateral Investment Agreement proposed in March 2018 to 30 countries, which reflects conclusions of the Commission for Sovereignty, Integration, International Relations and Security of the National Assembly, which was charged with reviewing the provisions of all the BITs executed by Ecuador.

Singapore International Arbitration Centre Signs MOU With Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration

Jeffrey Makin

On August 24, 2018, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) signed an MOU with the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (SCIA). SIAC and SCIA have agreed to work together to promote international arbitration to serve the business community, including providing recommendations for arbitrators to each other. SIAC reported that Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, stated, “This MOU represents a key milestone in our commitment and ongoing efforts to work closely with SCIA and other Chinese arbitral institutions to promote international arbitration to Chinese investors, companies and businesses as the preferred mode of dispute resolution for the resolution of cross-border commercial and investment disputes, particularly in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative.”

Read SIAC’s Announcement

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