The Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA) recently approved and adopted the 2021 Edition of the ACICA Arbitration Rules and Expedited Arbitration Rules.
The rules reflect numerous developments in international arbitration, including revisions that—for the first time—make multiple references to legal finance, or “third-party funding”. These new rules not only signify the increased adoption of legal finance in international arbitration in Australia, but also highlight important trends in the funding of international arbitration across the Asia-Pacific region.
Key takeaways from the ACICA Rules
DEFINING “THIRD-PARTY FUNDING”
The most notable of the new rule changes is Article 54 of the ACICA Arbitration Rules and Article 41 of the ACICA Expedited Arbitration Rules, both of which specifically address disclosure requirements of third-party funding. Both provisions define “third-party funding” broadly to include entities that fund claims as well as insurers. Article 54.2 specifies that “a party and/or its representative shall, on its own initiative, disclose the existence of third-party funding and the identity of the funder.” Article 54.3 further describes that the arbitral tribunal can order a party to disclose those details at any time during the arbitration proceedings. These provisions create a very limited disclosure obligation on the parties and do not impose any broader obligations to disclose either documents or communications relating to third-party funding.
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