ICC Dispute Resolution Services

ICC’s Dispute Resolution Services are particularly well suited to the resolution of disputes that have a commercial or international character.

Using ICC Dispute Resolution Services

Andrea Carlevaris

ICC is a leading provider of dispute resolution services for individuals, businesses, states, state entities, and international organizations seeking alternatives to court litigation.

It is not necessary to be a member of ICC to benefit from its dispute resolution services. Any and all parties wishing to take advantage of the benefits of these services may do so.

A 2010 research survey undertaken by the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary University, London, concluded that “ICC is the most preferred and widely used arbitration institution”, with 50% of respondents preferring ICC. The next most popular institution was ranked first by only 14% of respondents. The survey also revealed that “the most commonly used institution over the past five years was ICC (56%)”, followed by a tied second place for two other institutions at 10%.

The choice of one or more ICC services as the dispute resolution method should ideally be made when businesses and governments negotiate their contracts and treaties. ICC provides standard and recommended clauses for this purpose, which can be modified to take account of the requirements of national laws and any other special requirements.

Naturally, parties can draft their own clauses. And even if the treaty or contract does not contain such a clause, they can still agree to use ICC later, should a dispute arise. However, agreeing to use ICC Dispute Resolution Services as early as possible provides greater certainty and reduces any potential delays.

A range of dispute resolution services

All ICC Dispute Resolution Services are based on rules that only ICC can administer. This is particularly so for the ICC Rules of Arbitration, which can only be administered properly by the ICC Court. All of the ICC sets of rules are neutral, cost-effective and designed specifically for the resolution of international disputes.
Parties choosing ICC can tailor the dispute resolution service to their particular needs thanks to a range of options. Depending on the circumstances, parties might prefer one, or a blend, of the services.

  • Arbitration - Under the ICC Rules of Arbitration, ICC Arbitration is administered by the ICC International Court of Arbitration, assisted by the ICC Court's Secretariat. ICC Arbitration is a flexible procedure that leads to a binding decision from a neutral arbitral tribunal (unless the parties settle during the arbitration, which is common). An ICC arbitral tribunal's decision, called an award, is often complied with voluntarily by the unsuccessful party. Where there is a failure to comply, the award can be enforced in more than 145 countries around the world under both domestic and international enforcement regimes including, notably, the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
  • MediationUnder the ICC Mediation Rules, mediation proceedings are administered by the ICC International Centre for ADR, the only body empowered to administer proceedings under the these rules. Mediation is a flexible settlement technique, conducted privately and confidentially, in which a mediator acts as a neutral facilitator to help the parties arrive at a negotiated settlement of their dispute. The parties have control over both the decision to settle and the terms of any settlement agreement. Where successful, Mediation results in an agreement that is contractually binding but cannot itself be enforced internationally like an arbitral tribunal award.
  • Expertise - Under the ICC Rules for Expertise, ICC Expertise is administered by the ICC International Centre for Expertise under the supervision of the ICC International Centre for ADR. The Centre for Expertise proposes and appoints experts in almost every field of business (technical, financial, legal, etc). Additionally, the Centre may:
    • Administer the expert's work so as to help ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness, and can review the expert's report;
    • Propose experts for arbitral tribunals - a free service when requested by a tribunal acting under the ICC Rules of Arbitration; and
    • Appoint experts to dispute boards, as adjudicators or to fulfill other procedural needs.
  • Dispute Boards - Under ICC Rules Dispute Boards are administered under the supervision of the ICC International Centre for ADR. An ICC Dispute Board is a standing body with one or three members that helps resolve disagreements and disputes in medium- and long-term contracts. ICC Dispute Boards are widely used in global construction and infrastructure projects, and other fields such as information technology and intellectual property.
    With an ICC Dispute Board in place, contracting parties can enjoy reduced dispute resolution costs, and avoid expensive delays and disruption. ICC Dispute Boards may informally assist parties to overcome disagreements, while providing recommendations and decisions on any disputes that arise and are referred to them.
  • DOCDEX - Under the ICC Rules for Documentary Instruments Dispute Resolution Expertise, DOCDEX is administered by the International Centre for Expertise under the supervision of the ICC International Centre for ADR.

    DOCDEX is a fast, cost-effective and straightforward way of settling letter of credit disputes.

    DOCDEX also helps to resolve disagreements arising from other instruments, such as bank-to-bank reimbursements and collections.

    A panel of three, hand-picked, independent experts assesses each DOCDEX case according to the relevant ICC banking rules. To ensure compliance with the rules, the decision is checked by a technical expert from the ICC Commission on Banking Technique and Practice. If all parties agree, the panel's decisions can be made contractually binding.