UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules

The UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules provide a comprehensive set of procedural rules upon which parties may agree for the conduct of arbitral proceedings arising out of their commercial relationship and are widely used in ad hoc arbitrations as well as administered arbitrations. The Rules cover all aspects of the arbitral process, providing a model arbitration clause, setting out procedural rules regarding the appointment of arbitrators and the conduct of arbitral proceedings, and establishing rules in relation to the form, effect and interpretation of the award. At present, there exist four different versions of the Arbitration Rules: (i) the 1976 version; (ii) the 2010 revised version; and (iii) the 2013 version which incorporates the UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency for Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration and (iv) the 2021 version which incorporates the UNCITRAL Expedited Arbitration Rules.

The UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules were initially adopted in 1976 and have been used for the settlement of a broad range of disputes, including disputes between private commercial parties where no arbitral institution is involved, investor-State disputes, State-to-State disputes and commercial disputes administered by arbitral institutions. In 2006, the Commission decided that the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules should be revised in order to meet changes in arbitral practice over the last thirty years. The revision aimed at enhancing the efficiency of arbitration under the Rules without altering the original structure of the text, its spirit or drafting style.

The UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules (as revised in 2010) have been effective since 15 August 2010. They include provisions dealing with, amongst others, multiple-party arbitration and joinder, liability, and a procedure to object to experts appointed by the arbitral tribunal. A number of innovative features contained in the Rules aim to enhance procedural efficiency, including revised procedures for the replacement of an arbitrator, the requirement for reasonableness of costs, and a review mechanism regarding the costs of arbitration. They also include more detailed provisions on interim measures.

With the adoption of the UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (the "Rules on Transparency") in 2013, a new article 1, paragraph 4 was added to the text of the Arbitration Rules (as revised in 2010) to incorporate the Rules on Transparency for arbitration initiated pursuant to an investment treaty concluded on or after 1 April 2014. The new paragraph provides for utmost clarity in relation to the application of the Rules on Transparency in investor-State arbitration initiated under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. In all other respects, the 2013 UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules remain unchanged from the 2010 revised version.

With the adoption of the UNCITRAL Expedited Arbitration Rules in 2021, a new article 1, paragraph 5 was added to the text of the Arbitration Rules to incorporate the Expedited Rules as an appendix to the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. The phrase “where the parties so agree” in that paragraph emphasizes the need for the parties’ express consent for the Expedited Rules to apply to the arbitration.