Changes to keep all players onside, write Stuart Dutson, partner, and Zhao Yang, solicitor at Eversheds.

The China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) is the leading arbitration institution in China. CIETAC adopted new rules on 3 February 2012 (the 2012 Rules) which will come into force on 1 May 2012, modernising the version that has been in force since 11 January 2005 (the 2005 Rules).

The 2012 Rules include a number of new provisions allowing for more flexibility and transparency in CIETAC arbitration, and granting further powers to arbitral tribunals. There are some major changes with the new rules, not the least being improved flexibility.

Flexible exchanges

Previously, the 2005 Rules required that arbitration documents be filed directly with the CIETAC secretariat, which then forwarded them to the parties. This requirement could in practice delay arbitral proceedings. According to Article 18(2) of the 2012 Rules the parties can agree, with the consent of the tribunal, or the tribunal can otherwise decide that all arbitration documents be directly exchanged among the parties and the tribunal, in addition to being submitted to the CIETAC secretariat or the relevant sub-commission administering the case.

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