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ICC's DOCDEX rules, first approved in 1997, were aimed at providing an alternative dispute resolution system for parties using the ICC rules, presently called UCP 600, in letter of credit transactions. Rather than turning to the courts, which can take years to decide disputes, or to other forms of dispute resolution, the parties using DOCDEX can count on a reasonably priced decision that will normally be rendered by an ICC panel of experts within thirty to sixty days.

Over the years, changes have been made to the DOCDEX process. In 2002, the rules were extended to cover cases dealing with the ICC Uniform Rules for Collections (URC 522) and the ICC Uniform Rules for Demand Guarantees (URDG 458). This considerably expanded the range of users who can benefit from the DOCDEX process. In addition, the decision to raise from $100,000 to $500,000 the threshold value of transactions requiring a higher fee for a DOCDEX decision clearly rendered the rules more attractive.

A new impetus for using DOCDEX will surely be created as a result of the latest UCP revision, called UCP 600, which came into effect on 1 July 2007. New sets of rules inevitably raise questions of interpretation that may be the cause of disputes, and parties will have an interest in having these quickly resolved.

Since the inception of DOCDEX, ICC expert panels have decided more than fifty DOCDEX cases. After relatively modest beginnings, the use of the process has picked up considerably in recent years, as the rules have gained increased visibility and as more users have come to appreciate the advantages of an objective, rapid and efficient process. DOCDEX is now firmly established and has taken its place among the various choices open to parties who seek clarity and precision in resolving their disputes.

Guy Sebban
ICC Secretary General