ICC’s Documentary Credit Dispute Resolution Expertise (DOCDEX) offers international bankers and traders a quick and cost-effective means to settle documentary credit disputes, usually in two to three months.
Cases are decided by a panel of three impartial experts, whose decision is further scrutinized by the technical advisor of the Banking Commission to ensure that it conforms to applicable ICC Rules and their interpretation by the Banking Commission.
Decisions are binding only if both parties have so agreed.
DOCDEX is administered by the ICC International Centre for Expertise, a unit within the Secretariat of the ICC International Court of Arbitration and can be applied for disputes arising under the ICC Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP) and the ICC Uniform Rules for Bank-to-Bank Reimbursement under Documentary Credits (URR), the ICC Uniform Rules for Collections (URC) and the ICC Uniform Rules for Demand Guarantees (URDG).
To settle a letter of credit dispute using DOCDEX, the parties follow two simple steps:
- Submit a request for a DOCDEX decision, along with the standard fee of US$5000 and all relevant documents, to the ICC International Centre for Expertise.
- If you are the opposing party, respond to the request by submitting your answer with all supporting documents.
If you submit a request and the other party does not answer, you will still be granted a prompt DOCDEX decision.
A Panel of Expertise
A panel of three experts decides each DOCDEX case. The ICC International Centre for Expertise hand-picks each expert after careful screening to check qualifications and independence. Experts include bankers, lawyers, consultants and individuals who have dealt with letter of credit issues for years.
The Centre can call upon experts from over 70 countries, who review the evidence and base their decision on the relevant ICC rules: Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP) and Uniform Rules for Bank-to-Bank Reimbursement under Documentary Credits (URR).
Time and cost effective
DOCDEX decisions are reached much faster than decisions resulting from litigation or other forms of dispute resolution. The average DOCDEX decision is handed down in 2–3 months, while courts may easily take between 6–18 months or longer.
DOCDEX saves you money. You can generally expect to pay a fee of US$5000 for a DOCDEX decision, although the cost may vary depending on the amount in dispute. Even in exceptional cases, the fee would not exceed US$10000. Compare this with the cost of litigation, where the sky's the limit.
DOCDEX offers a system where experts carefully examine all documents before reaching a decision. A technical advisor nominated by ICC's Banking Commission then personally reviews each decision to ensure that it is in line with UCP. You can feel confident that you receive a thorough analysis and well-considered conclusion with DOCDEX.
Between 60-70% of letters of credit are rejected on first presentation because of discrepancies. DOCDEX decisions are widely distributed, although the identities of the parties are never disclosed. The purpose is to provide information that will enable practitioners to avoid common errors leading to disputes, while at the same time preserving confidentiality.
The key advantage of DOCDEX is that you stay out of court and can settle the case reliably at very low cost.
The full text of the DOCDEX rules is available free of charge from ICC, on the current website, in the left hand menu.
You can find the full text of DOCDEX decisions on DC-PRO Focus, ICC's online subscription service for documentary credits. Users from over 25 countries have already taken advantage of the service, which offers fraud alerts, legal background, news stories and opinions.
Link to DC-PRO, a professional library
More information is also available on the ICC's Commission on Banking Technique and Practice (Link to the Commission on Banking)