Comparison of Arbitration Rules

The Comparison of Arbitration Rules document is available here.

This is a summary comparison between seven international arbitration rules: the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the Insurance and Reinsurance Society UK (ARIAS UK), the Insurance and Reinsurance Society US (ARIAS US), the International Institute for Conflict Prevention (IICPR), the American Arbitration Association Commercial (AAA Com), the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). Each of the rulesets allow for the contracting parties to pre-agree most of the provisions of any potential arbitration, while some provisions are required regardless of agreement. It is also important to note that, where the parties select arbitration but do not specify a ruleset or the ruleset is silent on an aspect of the arbitration, the default provisions of the agreement’s jurisdiction apply, which is why the default provisions under UK law (primarily from the Arbitration Act 1996) have also been provided. This note does not deal with all matters in the rulesets but we have selected what we consider are the key differences and most important matters to look for when selecting a ruleset, with a table outlining the comparison at the end.

Although this note considers US arbitration, it assumes that English law applies in terms of considering rights of appeal etc.

Arbitrator selection

One of the most important features of all of the rules is arbitrator selection.

LCIA and the Arbitration Act all have a single arbitrator as default. Conversely, UNCITRAL, ARIAS UK and ARIAS US default to 3 arbitrators in the absence of a pre-agreed number. IICPR, AAA Com and ICDR can each default to one unless the respective arbitration society determines the case is a complex one, in which case they default to 3. IICPR also adds that any claim in excess of $3 million defaults to 3 arbitrators.

Looking at the impartiality of the arbitrator, ARIAS UK, UNCITRAL, the Arbitration Act, LCIA, IICPR and ICDR all impose a duty on the arbitrator(s) to act independently and impartially. ARIAS US imposes a different standard. The third arbitrator, or umpire, must be impartial, whereas the two party-appointed arbitrators must only be disinterested. According to the rules, disinterested means they may have no financial interest in the arbitration outcome and are not under any party’s control. In practice however, while they cannot be an employee of either party or have their fees contingent on the result, “it is generally understood in the industry that party-appointed arbitrators can be initially predisposed but must remain open-minded and render decisions fairly”.  AAA Com also has a different standard of impartiality. While arbitrators must be impartial and independent by default, this is the only ruleset that allows for the parties to agree in advance to override this requirement for the two party-appointed arbitrators. While the third arbitrator, or chairperson, must remain impartial and independent, this means the other two arbitrators are allowed to act on behalf of the party that appointed them.

There is also a key distinguishing feature in terms of the required qualifications of arbitrators. While all the rules allow for the parties to agree on these, when the parties do not/can not agree, only ARIAS UK and US impose a minimum qualification of 10 plus years’ experience in the insurance industry. The other rules do not impose any minimum qualifications. The reason for this is because, while the ARIAS rulesets are designed specifically for use in insurance disputes, the others are broader in their scope. Specifying minimum qualifications that are appropriate for a range of industries would be impractical. It is therefore very important to consider this when concluding contracts utilising any non-ARIAS ruleset.


Confidentiality is dealt with slightly differently between some of the rules. ARIAS US, AAA Com, LCIA, IICPR and ICDR are the same in that unless otherwise agreed, all matters relating to the arbitration or the award must be confidential (with minor exceptions when required by law). On the other hand, UNCITRAL requires partial confidentiality, where all proceedings/hearings are public, but awards are kept confidential. ARIAS UK also requires confidentiality for all hearings and documents created as part of the arbitration, unless otherwise agreed by the parties. It is silent on whether awards must remain confidential however, meaning it defaults to the English default provision. This is governed by the English common law principle that all aspects of arbitration must be confidential. ARIAS UK have published a model confidentiality clause for parties to use in contracts (or at the time they commence arbitration) which, would allow the parties to deal with the confidentiality of awards on a case-by-case basis and not have to rely on the developments of common law.


Consolidation of arbitration proceedings between the same parties (ie different contracts with a dispute on similar issues) can only happen if there is a prior agreement through the arbitration rules, or if the parties agree to do so.  

There is some difference between the different sets of rules. IICPR and ICDR allow for consolidation, subject to the parties’ agreement or if certain conditions, such as having multiple claims made under the same arbitration agreement, are met. ARIAS UK allows for consolidation only if all parties consent. On the other hand, the LCIA allows the tribunal to make that decision. AAA Com states that the arbitrator and all parties should address whether consolidation should occur at the preliminary hearing. UNCITRAL and ARIAS US do not include specific provisions regarding consolidation. The tribunal does, however, have power to conduct the arbitration in such manner as it considers appropriate under UNCITRAL, and the parties COULD agree on any modifications to the rules that they deem appropriate under ARIAS US, so consolidation could still happen.

Costs and Secretariat

Costs are an important factor to consider when deciding which ruleset to follow.  Four of the rulesets, LCIA, IICPR, AAA Com and ICDR have prescribed costs for filing, administration and secretariat, which can be found on their published schedules of fees which will change from time to time. At the time of writing this memo, the LCIA has a non-refundable registration fee of £1,950, charges an hourly rate for admin of £165-£280/hour, a tribunal secretary hourly rate of £75-175/hour, and charges extra fees for any emergency arbitrators; IICPR, AAA Com and ICDR all have variable filing and admin fees which depend on the amount of the claim. IICPR charges a fixed initial filing fee of $1,750 for all claim amounts, but admin fees range from $2,250-$32,250. AAA Com and ICDR fees are payable in schedules of either 2 or 3 payments, with 3 being more expensive. For AAA Com, the total fees range from $1,725-$84,250, while for ICDR these range from $2,300-$126,425. Both ICDR and IICPR charge additional fees for filing for any interim relief measures. ARIAS UK, ARIAS US and UNCITRAL, on the other hand, do not have prescribed charges for these activities. This may lead to lower overall costs for the arbitration parties. It is important to note however, that these costs do not include the arbitrator(s)’ fees which will be the main cost (other than the parties own legal costs) assuming the matter proceeds to a hearing. These are not prescribed in any of the rulesets (though some like LCIA do cap the rates), meaning that the parties’ choice of arbitrator can vary the overall costs of the arbitration a great amount.

It is also important to consider how and when the costs and expenses are allocated between the parties. The rulesets differ on how the general costs of the arbitration are divided (ie costs to cover arbitrators’ expenses, secretariat work, etc…). In ARIAS US, IICPR and AAA Com, these are initially split equally between the parties, though each party bears the costs of their chosen arbitrator. The tribunal may then decide to re-allocate these costs between the parties as part of its final award. The other rulesets, and the default provision in UK law, require the arbitration costs to be allocated at the tribunal’s discretion throughout the arbitration.

In every ruleset, each party initially covers their own expenses (ie legal fees). These can then be re-allocated at the discretion of the tribunal as part of the award. The default provision of UK law, which is followed by the LCIA, ARIAS UK and UNCITRAL, is that the unsuccessful party bears the costs of the entire arbitration, including the costs of the other party. This is just a general rule however, and still subject to the tribunal’s discretion, so extraneous or unreasonable costs may not be covered. There is no such general rule in the other rulesets, which state that the award, including any compensation and all other costs of the arbitration (including those of the other party) may be allocated entirely at the discretion of the tribunal. 


Each set of rules has detailed instructions on how long each stage of the arbitration process should be. While the rulesets differ slightly, these can often be extended. None of the rules have a prescribed total maximum duration, however there are statistics available for some of them. In terms of median durations, LCIA lasts 16 months,  ICDR lasts 13.1 months  (both from 2017) and UNCITRAL lasts 48 months.  IICPR has an average duration of 12 months, though median statistics are not available.  Statistics were not available for ARIAS UK, ARIAS US and AAA Com. Furthermore, each of the rulesets has provisions for an expedited arbitration, which may considerably reduce the overall duration of the arbitration.

Written Reasoned Awards

AAA Com and ARIAS US are the only sets of rules that do not require the arbitrator(s) to give a reasoned award. For AAA Com, this can however, be requested in advance of the arbitrator’s appointment, or can be given if the arbitrator determines a reasoned award is appropriate. For ARIAS US, a written reasoned award will only be given if the parties agree one is needed.  This is important in terms of allowing the parties to assess whether there have been any mistakes within the award.  All other rules require a written reasoned award unless the parties request otherwise. IICPR is the only ruleset that specifically requires dissenting opinions to be included in the award.


The default provision in the UK is that arbitrations can be appealed to the court, but only on the grounds of lack of substantive jurisdiction, serious irregularity, or on a point of law. This can be overridden by agreement of the parties, however. Under IICPR, an appeal is possible only when the parties have included an appeal clause in their arbitration agreement or in a post-dispute arbitration agreement, applying the CPR Arbitration Appeal Procedure (AAP). The grounds for this are relatively narrow. For the AAA Com and ICDR, appeals are allowed only where the parties have agreed to apply the Optional Appellate Arbitration Rules. The grounds for appeal under the Optional Appellate Arbitration Rules are the same ones used by the IICPR, explained previously, and are relatively narrow. You cannot appeal under LCIA, ARIAS UK ARIAS US, and UNCITRAL. 

Other provisions

  • Advance payment for costs: Each ruleset gives the tribunal or administrator the power to seek advance payment for costs.
  • Early determination: This is dealt with in ARIAS US, the Arbitration Act, LCIA, IICPR, AAA Com and ICDR, where there are specific summary powers given. Under ARIAS UK the parties can get early determination if they agree to use the ARIAS Fast Track Arbitration Rules (AFTAR). UNCITRAL does contain any specific provisions regarding early determination.
  • Emergency arbitrator: LCIA, IICPR, AAA Com and ICDR rules have specific provisions for using emergency arbitrators. The Arbitration Act, ARIAS UK and US, do not contain specific provisions, however the parties can make modifications upon agreement, and parties could consider ARIAS UK AFTAR, which does allow for an emergency arbitrator. UNCITRAL allows for an emergency arbitrator under its Expedited Rules.
  • Injunctive relief: All rulesets allow for injunctive relief, however ARIAS UK states that it is to be agreed between the parties, rather than giving that power to the tribunal. Where injunctive relief is not available, the parties can always go to court under UK law, which in some cases may be quicker than via a tribunal.
  • Punitive damages: The IICPR, ARIAS UK and ICDR rules expressly waive the right to any punitive damages, unless the parties have agreed otherwise. UNCITRAL, LCIA, AAA Com and ARIAS US do not expressly provide for or prohibit punitive damages. This means that, absent agreement otherwise, if the arbitration jurisdiction is in the UK, punitive damages will not be allowed.  However, if the arbitration jurisdiction allows the award of punitive damages then these can be awarded under LCIA, AAA Com and ARIAS US. 


Each arbitration ruleset offers different requirements, obligations, costs and default provisions, though many of them are shared across some or all. It is important to analyse these rules in detail in order to decide which ruleset is best suited to a party’s situation and requirements. It is also important to take into account the purpose of each ruleset. The ARIAS UK and US rules are specifically designed to be used in insurance and reinsurance disputes. The AAA Com and LCIA rules are slightly more broadly designed to be used in commercial disputes, while the ICDR, UNCITRAL and IICPR rules are designed even wider to be applicable for any sort of international arbitration. In any event, it is important to specify in advance in the contract itself where you want to deviate from any chosen ruleset, as most provisions are subject to prior agreement between the parties.

For a detailed table of all of the rules compared, please see the accompanying table.

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