Key moments in ICC dispute resolution in 2018

1. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is singled out, for the second time in a row and by a significant margin (77%), as the most preferred arbitral institution in the latest comprehensive market survey – pointing to the reputation, recognition and global presence of the ICC International Court of Arbitration (‘Court’) as well as its international experience and ability to take into account users’ specific needs and preferences.

2. The Court set new records in the number of new cases registered (842), ICC draft awards approved (599) and countries of origin of arbitrators (87).

3. Further progress has been made on the number of women arbitrators sitting in ICC tribunals (18.4% of appointment and nominations in 2018). July 2018 also marked a historical moment for ICC as the World Council – ICC’s supreme governing body – appointed 88 women and 88 men as Court members for the 2018-2021 term, thus establishing full gender parity. Nine of the 17 Vice-Presidents of the Court are also women. At the Secretariat, 70% of the staff and legal staff are women. With Court members from 116 countries and staff members from over 35 different nationalities, diversity is the essence of the Court and its Secretariat and reflects their neutrality and ability to take into account various cultural and legal backgrounds. As a consequence, ICC launched the ICC Gender Balance Pledge in late 2018, which commits to increase gender diversity in panel discussions at conferences and better reflect it across its global network.

4. The Court updated its ‘Note to Parties and Arbitral Tribunals’ with new provisions on arbitrator disclosure obligations, data protection (GDPR), treaty-based arbitrations and submissions by amicus curiae, duties of administrative secretaries, and additional services that may be provided by the Secretariat in respect of the constitution of tribunals. The revised Note also includes new steps towards transparency with the publication of additional information on ICC Arbitrations and the publication of awards, unless otherwise objected by the parties.

5. ICC reaffirms global and regional reach with the opening of the Secretariat’s fourth overseas case management office in Singapore, the establishment of the Court’s Belt and Road Commission addressing dispute resolution arising from the Belt and Road initiative, and the Court's ‘Africa Commission’ aiming to coordinate the Court’s expanding range of dispute resolution activities and growth on the continent.

6. With a membership comprising approximately 850 practicing lawyers, arbitrators, mediators, in-house counsel and academics from more than 100 countries, the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR aims to offer guidance on a range of topics and tools for efficient and cost-effective settlement in international disputes. In 2018, a new Chair took office and 11 new Vice-Chairs were appointed; parity was achieved among members of the Commission Steering Committee. 2018 saw the publication and approval of several Commission Reports: ‘Emergency Arbitrator Proceedings’, ‘Construction Industry Arbitrations: Recommended Tools and Techniques for Effective Management’, ‘ICC Arbitration Clause for Trust Disputes’ and ‘Supplementary Materials to the Report on Financial Institutions and International Arbitration’.

7. In 2018, ICC established and inaugurated, alongside Brazil’s National Confederation of Industry (CNI), a new hearing centre in Sao Paulo, which facilitates the conduct of dispute resolution proceedings involving parties from Brazil and wider Latin America. This development adds to other facilities established through Memorandums of Understanding with ICSID and several institutions worldwide.

8. ICC was selected by the International Federation of Consulting (FIDIC) – as the trusted dispute settlement body to decide on challenges filed against its Dispute Adjudication/Avoidance Boards (DAAB) Members. Under FIDIC’s suite of contracts launched in December 2017, and new Appendix III of the ICC Dispute Board Rules, any challenge brought by parties against a DAAB Member will be decided by ICC and administered by the ICC International Centre for ADR.

9. ICC and UNCITRAL marked the 60th anniversary of the New York Convention in July 2018, co-hosting a celebratory reception attended by over 150 members of the international arbitration community in New York City. ICC initiated the creation of the Convention by submitting a first draft in 1953 prepared by ICC’s Commission on Arbitration.

10. Over 250 ICC dispute resolution events were organised around the globe in 2018, including regional conferences, trainings, Young Arbitrators Forum events, and educational events. 2018 saw the second edition of Paris Arbitration Week (PAW) co-organised by the Court with the participation of over 1,000 practitioners and students from all over the world. The Court’s live broadcasting programme premiered in June: More than 225,000 viewers tuned in to watch the Asia Conference thus showcasing ICC’s leading role and position in international arbitration for communities worldwide.

The International Court of Arbitration

In 2018, 842 new cases were registered with the Secretariat, thus setting a new record for ICC. The figure is slightly lower than the 966 cases filed in 2016, which included however 135 related small-claim cases arising from a collective dispute.

As of end 2018, 1,603 pending cases were being administered by the Court and 24,180 cases had been registered since the Court was established in 1923.


Out of the 2,282 parties involved in cases filed in 2018, 46% were claimants and 54% respondents. A third of the cases involved multiple parties (33%), with several respondents in the majority of cases (57%), several claimants in 26% of the cases, and several claimants and respondents in 17% of the cases. The vast majority of cases involved three to five parties (85% of multiparty cases), while some cases involved as many as 15 parties.

Geographical origins

The parties in the 2018 filings came from 135 countries and independent territories worldwide.

See annex – table 01: Most frequent nationalities among parties

See annex – table 02: Nationalities represented by region


Parties from Sub-Saharan Africa reached 122, with South African and Nigerian parties taking the lead in keeping with the trend of recent years (respectively 17 and 13 parties), closely followed by Ghana (11 parties).

Parties from North Africa increased by 9% compared to 2017 with over half of them originating from Algeria and Egypt.


Parties from the Americas in 2018 accounted for roughly 25% of the overall number of parties in ICC Arbitration.

The USA maintain their first rank with 210 parties (amounting to 9.2% of all parties worldwide).

Brazil, the most represented nationality among parties from Latin America (35% of all Latin American parties), has now reached third place in the overall nationality ranking with 117 parties, following the USA (210 parties) and France (139 parties).

Asia & the Pacific

In 2018, there was a significant increase in parties from Central and West Asia (25% increase), with particularly more parties from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore. For the first time, one case recorded the involvement of a claimant-party from East Timor.

China (including Hong Kong), India, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, South Korea, and United Arab Emirates are now within the 15 most represented nationalities among the parties to ICC Arbitration.

Approximately 40% of ICC Arbitration cases filed in 2018 involved parties from Asia and the Pacific. This proportion is expected to increase in the years to come in light of the construction and engineering projects, planned or already under way in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).1

In April 2018, the Secretariat established its fourth overseas case management office in Singapore, which is already administering its first 100 cases.


Parties from North and West Europe represent just over 30% of the total party population. Germany, France and Spain traditionally take the lead among parties in the region and thus cases in 2018 saw 139 French parties, 110 Spanish parties and 95 German parties, followed (as in previous years) by parties from Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

In 2018, 16% of the ICC caseload involved a party from Central and East Europe, with Turkey remaining the most represented nationality within the region with 62 parties.

International vs domestic cases

Disputes between parties of the same region steadily amount to 40% of the cases while disputes between parties of the same nationality to 25% (i.e. 212 cases involving parties from the same country). This figure confirms that the Court remains, on the one hand, renowned for its ability and experience in handling cases involving contrasting cultures and legal traditions and, on the other, remains an attractive solution for domestic disputes. The Latin American region accounted for approximately a quarter of all single-nationality cases filed in 2018 (55 cases), with Brazil alone accounting for 26 cases. The Sao Paulo case management office, which has received over 40 filings since it was established in late 2017, principally aims at administering cases where all parties are Brazilian.

State and state-owned parties

The number of states or state-owned parties in ICC arbitrations has shown a 50% increase over the past five years. In 2018 (and since 2017), approximately 15% of ICC caseload involves a state or state entity, with 43 states and 100 state parties under state ownership from all parts of the world.

See annex – table 03: Number of states and stated-owned parties by region

Investor-state disputes

In 2018, two cases were filed on the basis of bilateral investment treaties (BIT). The first dispute was initiated by a European investor against a Latin American state and the second was based on an intra-European BIT. Since 1996, when the first BIT case was registered, and to date, ICC has administered 40 cases based on BITs.

Host states by region in ICC investment cases 1996 - to date

Arbitral tribunals

2018 saw 1,484 appointments and confirmations of arbitrators, which is very close to the 2017 record level of 1,488 appointments and confirmations.

Constitution of the arbitral tribunal

Arbitrators acting in ICC cases are primarily either 1) nominated by the parties or co-arbitrators, or selected in accordance with a specific mechanism agreed by the parties, and then confirmed by the Secretary General or the Court, or 2) appointed by the Court either upon proposal of an ICC National Committee or Group, or directly.

In 2018, in the vast majority of cases, arbitrators were nominated by the parties and the co-arbitrators (73%).

Arbitral tribunals constituted under the Rules are by and large composed of either one or three arbitrators. Every year, the parties agree on the number of the arbitrators, either in the arbitration agreement or subsequently, in approximately 90% of the cases; the Court fixes the number of arbitrators in the remaining cases. In 2018, the Court decided to submit disputes to a three-member arbitral tribunal in 28% of cases (32% of cases for 2017) and to a sole arbitrator in 72% of the cases (68% of cases for 2017). Parties, on the other hand, opted for a three-member tribunal in 62 % of the cases (67% of cases for 2017) and a sole arbitrator in 38% of the cases (33% of cases for 2017). As a result, 58% of cases were submitted to a three-member arbitral tribunal and 42% to a sole arbitrator.

Before being confirmed or appointed, prospective arbitrators are invited to complete a statement of acceptance, availability, impartiality and independence. In 2018, 32% of arbitrators made disclosures before being confirmed or appointed, in line with the Court’s increased efforts to foster transparency in ICC proceedings and make arbitrators better aware of their disclosure obligations.

Among the 50 candidates not confirmed or appointed by the Court, 42 had made disclosures.

See annex – table 04: Selection of arbitrators

Once an arbitrator has been confirmed or appointed, objections to his or her impartiality, independence or other aspects must be made by way of a challenge. The number of challenges filed in 2018, whether based on an alleged lack of impartiality, independence or otherwise, amounted to 45, out of which seven were accepted by the Court on the merits. In the course of the year, 50 arbitrators resigned. A total of 55 replacements were made, following the resignation or death of an arbitrator, the filing of a successful challenge or at the request of the parties. In addition, one arbitrator was replaced on the Court’s own initiative pursuant to Article 12(2) of the Rules.

To date, and since 2014 when the practice to communicate reasons for the Court’s decisions upon request of the parties was first applied, the Court has communicated reasons for 14 decisions on the challenge of arbitrators.2

Geographical origins

Figures for 2018 confirm the increasing diversity among arbitrators appointed and confirmed by the Court and set a new record with arbitrators from as many as 87 jurisdictions.

As in previous years, arbitrators from the United Kingdom represent approximately 15% of all arbitrators (209 arbitrators). While Brazil and Mexico remain in the top ten nationalities, Singapore accounted for the 11 most frequent nationality with 35 arbitrators (up from 25 in 2017) and represented 40% of all arbitrators from South and East Asia.

Every year, ICC counts new nationalities among the arbitrators appointed or confirmed. In 2018, Rwanda was an addition to the list (one arbitrator being nominated by the parties and one directly appointed by the Court). In July 2018, the Court established an Africa Commission to coordinate ICC’s expanding range of activities on the continent.3 Through training, awareness raising and other outreach activities, the Commission also aims at strengthening efforts to expand the pool of African arbitrators. It is expected that the number of African nationals acting as arbitrators will rise in the coming years.

See annex – table 05: Most frequent nationalities

See annex – table 06 - Breakdown by country of origin and status

Gender diversity

In 2018, the number of appointments and confirmations of women arbitrators rose to 273, now representing 18.4% of all appointments and confirmations.

Although the Court generally appoints 25 to 30% of all arbitrators (27% in 2018, see section above on the constitution of the arbitral tribunal), the parties nominated as many women arbitrators as the Court appointed: 115 women were party-nominated, (42% of all women arbitrators), 113 women were appointed by the Court (41% of all women arbitrators) and the remainder were nominated as president by co-arbitrators (17% of all women arbitrators).

Over the years, the number of women acting as president or sole arbitrator has steadily increased and 2018 was no exception: 32% of women appointed or confirmed as arbitrators acted as presidents (31% in 2017), 30% as sole arbitrators (26% in 2017) and 38% as co-arbitrators (43% in 2017).

Out of all sole arbitrators appointed or confirmed in 2018, 29% were women, whereas 21% of presidents and 13% of co-arbitrators were women.

Further inclusion of women within the institution was also achieved in 2018. By way of an unprecedented move towards complete gender parity, the ICC World Council appointed 88 women and 88 men as ICC Court members for 2018-2021.4

See annex – table 07: Breakdown of men/women arbitrators appointed or confirmed by region (2016-2018)


In 2018, the average age of arbitrators confirmed or appointed was 56 years. Arbitrators appointed by the Court (directly or following a proposal by a National Committee) were, as in previous years approximately five years younger. In total, 35% of the individuals confirmed or appointed as arbitrators were below 50.5

Places of arbitration

In 2018, ICC arbitrations were seated in 108 different cities6 spread over 60 countries.

The frequency in which seats were selected followed a similar pattern to previous years, with an increase of US-seated arbitrations (75 cases in 2018, compared to 51 in 2017).

As in the last five years, France was the most selected place in ICC arbitrations (137 cases), followed by Switzerland (78 cases), the USA (75 cases) and the United Kingdom (72 cases).

Singapore remained the most preferred seat in Asia and was selected in 27 cases (as a result of the choice of the parties in 26 cases and fixed as the place of arbitration by the Court in one case). Singapore confirmed its 5th place, now shared with Brazil.

Brazil and Mexico are both ranked among the ten first countries selected as places of arbitration and respectively hosted 27 and 18 ICC arbitrations in 2018. A few more arbitrations were seated in the United Arab Emirates and in India in 2018.

Out of the 75 cases seated in the USA, 38 were in the state of New York, 12 in Miami (Florida), and six in California. Hong Kong was the place of arbitration in all 10 cases seated in China (the Mainland and Hong Kong SAR counted as a single unit for statistical purposes).

Although in the great majority of cases the place of arbitration is chosen by the parties, the Court fixes the place of arbitration where parties fail to do so. In 2018, the Court exercised this function in just 8% of all cases.

See annex – table 08: Ten most selected cities

See annex – table 09: Countries selected as place of arbitration

Choice of law

In 87% of the disputes referred to ICC Arbitration in 2018, parties included a choice-of-law clause in their contracts, which covered the laws of 114 different nations, states, provinces and territories. As in previous years, English law was the most selected lex contractus (16% of cases registered in 2018), closely followed by the laws of a US state (12% of cases). The contracts applying the laws of US states referred to the laws of 17 states, with New York law selected in half of the contracts. French and Swiss law also remained frequent choices (in approximately 9% of the cases registered in 2018). The laws of Brazil and Germany ranked 5th with 40 cases each, and Mexico and Spain ranked 6th with 32 cases each.

Only 2% of contracts provided for the application of rules or instruments other than national laws in their arbitration agreement or choice-of-law clause. These included the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts, lex mercatoria, ‘UNCITRAL Law’ and the ICC Incoterms. Such instruments are however sometimes applied in the course of the arbitration, per automatic application (UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods), contractual terms or parties’ agreement. There was a single contract requiring arbitrators to decide ‘ex aequo et bono’.

Nature of the disputes

The cases filed cover a wide range of sectors divided in more than 20 categories (agribusiness, alimentation, business services, chemicals, plastic and rubber, construction and engineering, defence and security, education and culture, energy, environmental protection, financing and insurance, general trade and distribution, health/pharmaceuticals and body care, industrial equipment and services, leisure and entertainment, media and publishing, metals and raw materials, packaging, handling and warehouses, public institutions and organizations, telecommunications/specialised technologies, textiles/clothing, transportation).

Construction/engineering and energy disputes generate the largest number of ICC cases and, as in previous years, account for approximately 40% of the 2018 new caseload. A new record has been set in 2018 with the number of construction and engineering cases now reaching 224 new cases (i.e. 27% of the caseload in 2018). Sectors related to telecoms and specialised technologies, financing and insurance, general trade and distribution, industrial equipment and services, and health/ pharmaceuticals and cosmetics range between 5 to 8% of the new cases.

Amounts in dispute

At the end of 2018, 36% of pending cases had an amount in dispute up to US$ 5 million, and 24% had an amount above US$ 50 million. The average value of cases filed in 2018 was US$ 45 million, with the median amount in dispute being approximately US$ 5 million.

The aggregate value of all pending disputes before the Court at the end of the year was US$ 203 billion, with an average value of US$ 131 million and a median value of US$ 10 million.

See annex – table 10: Amounts in dispute

It is also worth noting that 32% of the cases registered in 2018 involved an amount in dispute not exceeding US$ 2 million, the threshold amount in dispute for the automatic application of the Expedited Procedure Provisions applicable to arbitration agreements concluded after 1 March 2017.

Expedited Procedure

The significant proportion of lower-value cases in ICC Arbitration, as noted above, is indicative of the relevance and necessity of the Expedited Procedure, which enables such cases to be handled with greater efficiency as to time and costs. Under the ICC Expedited Procedure, final awards are rendered within six months of the case management conference. This procedure, which provides for lower arbitrator fees,7 applies to all cases filed on the basis of arbitration agreements contained in contracts concluded on or after 1 March 2017, the date of entry into force of the Expedited Procedure, where the total amount in dispute does not exceed US$ 2 million (Article 30(2) of the Rules).

The Expedited Procedure is also available for cases where contracts precede their entry into force or exceed the above monetary threshold, provided that the parties expressly opt in. The figures of opt-in requests in 2017 and 2018 reflect the suitability and success of the procedure: while 46 opt-in requests had been filed in 2017, of which 12 were agreed to by the other
party(ies), 96 opt-in requests were submitted in 2018, of which 22 were agreed to by the other party(ies).

In 2018, the Expedited Procedure also applied by operation of the Rules in 19 cases, with an arbitration agreement concluded after 1 March 2017 and an amount in dispute not exceeding US$ 2 million as required by Article 30 and Appendix VI of the Rules. Parties agreed to opt out from the Expedited Procedure in one case alone. Where a party objected to the default application of the Expedited Procedure (e.g. disputed amount in dispute or date of contract), the decision as to whether the Expedited Procedure Provisions would apply was made by the Court.

As of 1 April 2019, 70 cases have been, or are being, conducted under the Expedited Procedure Provisions. Of the 24 final awards rendered in expedited proceedings, 21 were rendered within the six-month time limit as from the case management conference (pursuant to Art. 4(1), Appendix VI to the Rules). In one case, the final award was rendered within six months and six days (the time limit was extended as a result of the parties’ agreement on an extended timetable). Where the award was rendered three weeks late, the Court reduced the sole arbitrator’s fee in accordance with standard practice.8 In a third case that involved multiple parties and an amount in dispute over US$ 100 million, the award was however rendered within nine months. The scrutiny of all 24 awards was made on average in ten days.9


All draft awards are submitted to the Court for scrutiny and approval prior to notification to the parties. The Rules provide the Court with discretion to lay down modifications as to form and draw the tribunal’s attention to points of substance when scrutinising draft awards.

In 2018, the ICC Court approved 599 awards, exceeding the record reached in 2017 (with 512 awards). While the number of partial awards (146) and awards by consent (46) remained steady, the number of final awards (407) has increased by 20%.

The vast majority of draft awards were approved subject to certain points raised for consideration by arbitral tribunals. Indeed, only four draft awards were approved without any comments. A further 63 draft awards were not approved when first scrutinised by the Court and returned to the arbitral tribunal for further elaboration.

Requests are sometimes received for awards to be corrected or interpreted once they have been rendered. In 2018, 92 such requests were received, 62 of which led to the subsequent correction or interpretation of the award. When rejecting the other 30 requests, tribunals sometimes added to their original awards an order relating to the costs of the correction/interpretation proceedings.

In one instance, the correction of a final award was ordered by the English courts, following which the Court re-opened the case pursuant Article 36(4) of the Rules (on remission of awards).

Languages of awards

Awards approved in 2018 were drafted in a total of 14 languages. English remains the predominant language (for 79% of the awards). Other languages used were French (43 awards), Spanish (31 awards), Portuguese (24 awards), German (eight awards), Italian (four awards), Greek (three awards), Polish (two awards), Russian (two awards), and one each in Bulgarian, Chinese, Hungarian and Thai. In addition, two bilingual awards were rendered in English/ Romanian.

Awards rendered by majority / dissenting opinions

Pursuant to Article 32(1) of the Rules, ‘when the arbitral tribunal is composed of more than one arbitrator, an award is made by a majority decision’. Of the 349 awards rendered by three-member tribunals, 90% were decided unanimously, leaving a total of 35 awards rendered by majority. Of these, 33 saw dissenting opinions, incorporated in the award itself in seven cases and made by way of a separate document in 26 cases. In the two majority awards rendered without dissent, the dissenting arbitrator, who remained unidentified in two cases, signed the award.

Of the 33 awards accompanied by a dissenting opinion, the dissenting arbitrator was generally a co-arbitrator nominated by a party (in 29 awards). In two cases, the president of the arbitral tribunal dissented on limited issues and the dissenting arbitrator was not identified in two of the majority awards.

Length of proceedings

The average duration of proceedings in cases that reached a final award in 2018 was two years and four months and includes cases during which the proceedings were suspended by the parties for any length of time. The median duration of proceedings was two years.

In the past three years, the Court has implemented new practices in order to maintain and increase the efficiency of arbitrations, namely the timely submission of draft awards and the conclusion of Expedited Proceedings within a determined timeline.


Untimely submission of draft awards beyond two months (for sole arbitrators) or three months (for three-member arbitral tribunals) after the last substantive hearing or submissions pertaining to the draft award in question may cause a reduction of arbitrator fees unless attributable to factors beyond the arbitrators’ control.10

Of the 407 draft final awards submitted to the Court for scrutiny in 2018, 155 draft awards were submitted beyond the above timeframe, of which 68 triggered fee reductions (i.e. the delay was considered significant and the Court was not satisfied that the delay was attributable to factors beyond the arbitrators’ control or to exceptional circumstances). The rate of untimely submission of draft awards has significantly decreased, from 54% in 2016 to 38% in 2018. The number of draft awards delayed by three to six months decreased from 52 (in 2016) to 33 (in 2018), and instances where awards reached a delay of seven months or more went from 18 (in 2016) to six (in 2018). Accordingly, most delays in the submission of draft awards ranged from just a few days to less than three months.

Fee reductions may also apply under the Expedited Procedure Provisions where draft awards are expected to be submitted for scrutiny within five months as from the case management conference.11

The Note to Parties and Arbitral Tribunals also provides for a possible increase of arbitrator fees whenever the arbitral tribunal has conducted the arbitration expeditiously. A reduction of administrative fees also applies to the Court if the scrutiny process is delayed and if such delay is not attributable to exceptional circumstances beyond the Court’s control.

Emergency arbitrator proceedings

Since their introduction in 2012, the ICC Emergency Arbitrator Rules have, as of 1 March 2019, enabled parties to apply 95 times for ‘Emergency Measures’ (Article 29(1) of the Rules). In the vast majority of cases, the application was filed prior to the Request for Arbitration, pursuant to Article 1(6) of Appendix V, but a few applications have been filed, either by claimants or respondents, simultaneously to, or after, the filing of the Request for Arbitration.

24 applications under the ICC Emergency Arbitrator Rules were filed in the course of 2018. The applications involved 27 nationalities and 13 multi-party cases, involving as many as
11 responding parties in one case. Two cases involved states or state entities in commercial disputes.

While the vast majority of emergency arbitrator applications were filed in 2018 with the construction, engineering and energy sectors, other disputes related to general trade and distribution, the chemical industry, telecommunications/specialised technologies, and leisure and entertainment.

The emergency arbitrator proceedings that allow parties to seek urgent orders prior to the constitution of an arbitral tribunal in accordance with Article 29 of the Rules and Appendix V to the Rules is the subject of the latest Report by the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR. The Report includes an analysis of the first 80 ICC emergency arbitrator applications, national reports provided by ICC National Committees, and contributions from other arbitral institutions on their respective experiences of EA mechanisms.12

ICC as Appointing Authority

The Court was called upon to act as appointing authority on 15 occasions in 2018. Eight requests were for the appointment of an arbitrator in ad hoc proceedings under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules and six requests were for appointments in other ad hoc proceedings. In one other ad hoc arbitration proceeding under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, the Court was requested to decide on an arbitrator’s challenge. Requests were made under the Rules of ICC as Appointing Authority in UNCITRAL or Other Arbitration Proceedings (the ‘Appointing Authority Rules’) in force as from 1 January 2018.13

The new Appointing Authority Rules significantly expand the range of services the Court may provide to interested parties, such as maintaining the file, assisting the parties with logistical arrangements for meetings and hearings, assisting with the notification of documents and correspondence, administering funds, proofreading draft documents and acting as repository. The added value of the Appointing Authority Rules is that, on the one hand, they enable the Court to provide services in arbitral disputes lying beyond the traditional sphere of ICC Arbitration whenever parties so agree and, on the other hand, they allow parties to select the specific services they wish the Court and its Secretariat to perform, thus benefitting from a flexible and affordable framework, tailor-made solutions and the Court’s vast experience in dispute resolution.

The International Centre for ADR

In 2018, the ICC International Centre for ADR (‘Centre’) received a total of 70 new cases registered under the Mediation Rules, Expert Rules, Dispute Board Rules and DOCDEX Rules.


In 2018, the Centre registered 37 new filings under the ICC Mediation Rules, a new record for the Centre. The term ‘mediation’ as used in the Mediation Rules includes not only mediation but any other amicable settlement technique or combination of techniques the parties may prefer. In the 2018 filings, apart from one request for conciliation, parties overwhelmingly opted for mediation.

2018 has also set a record for the number of parties involved in ICC mediation cases, with 100 parties from 36 countries and independent territories. While parties from the Americas took the lead in 2017, European parties are predominant (representing 54% of all parties) in 2018. Countries accounting for the highest number of parties were the United Kingdom, Italy, USA and the United Arab Emirates. As ICC Mediation is becoming ever more popular and diverse, the ADR Centre is working on different ways to accompany users in the best way possible and established its ICC Meditation Request Form in 2018.14

Eight parties were states or state entities (originating from the MENA region, and Asia).

A total of 18 neutrals were nominated by the parties or appointed by the Centre. The neutrals came from 11 different jurisdictions including the Czech Republic, France, India, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Panama, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the USA. Four women acted as neutrals in 2018 (from the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Panama).

The disputes covered a wide range of business sectors. Construction and engineering disputes were the most frequent, accounting for almost 35% of cases, followed by disputes relating to energy and telecommunication. In 2018, the value of disputes ranged from US$ 250,000 to US$ 860 million, thus confirming the suitability of mediation for a wide range of disputes, including high-value disputes. The costs of proceedings in which mediators were appointed (covering ICC administrative expenses and the fees and expenses of the neutral) were US$ 18,500 on average.


A total of 24 requests for services related to experts were filed with the Centre in 2018. Of these, 12 concerned the proposal of experts, 9 the appointment of experts, and three the administration of expertise proceedings. Six of the requests for the proposal of experts were made by ICC arbitral tribunals (for which the service is provided free of charge), while all other requests were filed by parties.

Three of the requests for expert appointment were made for the appointment of dispute board members.15

The 59 parties involved in the 2018 filings came from 32 countries. Ten states or state entities from different continents requested the services of the Centre in relation to experts. As in previous years, the largest demand for the Centre’s expert services came from European parties.

The 2018 filings led to the proposal or appointment of 23 experts of 13 different nationalities (Argentina, Austria, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Uruguay).

Just under half of the requests filed in 2018 related to technical expertise, with the remainder split between financial expertise, legal expertise and matters requiring the expert to report on both legal and technical aspects. Requests related to expert services under the ICC Expert Rules covered various business sectors. As in other areas of ICC dispute resolution, demand from the construction sector was the highest, followed by the energy sector.

Dispute Boards

Under the 2015 ICC Dispute Board Rules and upon the parties’ request, the Centre may appoint dispute board (DB) members, decide on challenges filed against DB members, review their decisions and fix their fees.

In 2018, five requests were filed for the appointment of DB members on the basis of a contract referring to the ICC Rules. The ICC Dispute Board Rules may be applied without recourse to ICC. However, the administrative services listed above to facilitate the application of the Rules are provided exclusively by the ICC ADR Centre.

As a result of the collaborative efforts of ICC and FIDIC over the years, ICC has been selected as the dispute settlement body to decide on challenges filed against its Dispute Adjudication/Avoidance Boards (DAAB) members under the 2017 FIDIC Contracts.16 A new Appendix III in force as from 1 October 2018 has been incorporated to that effect in the ICC Dispute Board Rules.


ICC DOCDEX is a rapid, document-based dispute resolution service for trade finance. It was initially designed for letters of credit, but has since been extended to include other instruments, undertakings and agreements related to trade finance.17 For proceedings under the DOCDEX Rules, the Centre appoints experts in documentary credits, collections and demand guarantees. In 2018, four requests, involving 14 parties, for a DOCDEX decision were filed with the Centre. Traditionally, the use of the service has been stronger in Asia. In 2018, a vast majority of the parties came from Asia, and a third of the parties from Europe.

Disputes are decided by a panel of three experts, normally of different nationalities. As an illustration of ICC’s broad expert network, among the 12 experts appointed in 2018, eight originated from Asia and the Pacific (Australia, Bahrain China, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates) and four from Europe (Belgium, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom).

Annex – Tables


Arbitral tribunals

Places of arbitration

Amounts in dispute

In 2018, the Court has established its Belt and Road Commission to drive the development of ICC’s existing procedures and infrastructure falling under China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The Court has in total communicated reasons for 21 decisions, including decisions on challenges of arbitrators pursuant to Art. 14 of the Rules, consolidation of cases pursuant to Art. 10 of the Rules, and prima facie jurisdiction pursuant to Art. 6(4) of the Rules.

See ICC news ‘ICC Court to launch Africa Commission’.

See ICC news ‘ICC renews Alexis Mourre as President and nominates Court with full gender parity and unprecedented diversity’ and the full list of Court members of 1 July 2018.

The new representatives to ICC YAF (Young Arbitrators Forum) for the 2019-2021 mandate, comprising 38 women and 34 men from 46 countries and 60 cities, reflect ICC’s continuous efforts to promote age and geographical diversity in arbitration.

Under the Rules, the place of arbitration must be a city. For the purposes of this report, places of arbitration are grouped per country.

The Expedited Procedure provides for a reduced scale of fees. The online cost calculator is available for ordinary and expedited procedures.

See para 127, Note to Parties and Arbitral Tribunals on the Conduct of the Arbitration.

See para. 135, Note to Parties and Arbitral Tribunals on the Conduct of the Arbitration.

Note to Parties and Arbitral Tribunals on the Conduct of the Arbitration (1 Jan. 2019), paras. 118-122.

Note to Parties and Arbitral Tribunals on the Conduct of the Arbitration (1 Jan. 2019), paras. 123-127.

ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR, Report on ‘Emergency Arbitrator Proceedings’ (ICC Publication n°895). Also available in the ICC Digital Library.

Art. 5(1) of the Appointing Authority Rules provide that ‘When the parties have agreed that ICC shall act as appointing authority, they shall be deemed to have submitted to the Rules, unless they have expressly agreed to submit to the version thereof in force on the date of their agreement’.

See ICC Dispute Resolution Bulletin, issue 2018-4, ‘New ICC Mediation Request Form’ (ICC Activities) or contact the Centre at for more information.

The Centre may appoint dispute board members either under ICC Expert Rules or ICC Dispute Board Rules.

Under FIDIC’s suite of contracts launched in December 2017, any challenge brought by parties against a DAAB Member will be decided by ICC and administered by the ICC International Centre for ADR.

Some of the expert decisions rendered on the basis of the ICC DOCDEX Rules are published in 'Collected DOCDEX Decisions 2013-2016' (ICC Publication n°786).