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The ICSID Convention rules on Arbitration


ICSID is the world’s leading institution devoted to international investment dispute settlement. It has extensive experience in this field, having administered the majority of all international investment cases. States have agreed on ICSID as a forum for investor-State dispute settlement in most international investment treaties and in numerous investment laws and contracts.

ICSID was established in 1966 by the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (the ICSID Convention). The ICSID Convention is a multilateral treaty formulated by the Executive Directors of the World Bank to further the Bank’s objective of promoting international investment. ICSID is an independent, depoliticized and effective dispute-settlement institution. Its availability to investors and States helps to promote international investment by providing confidence in the dispute resolution process. It is also available for state-state disputes under investment treaties and free trade agreements, and as an administrative registry.

ICSID provides for settlement of disputes by conciliation, arbitration or fact-finding. The ICSID process is designed to take account of the special characteristics of international investment disputes and the parties involved, maintaining a careful balance between the interests of investors and host States. Each case is considered by an independent Conciliation Commission or Arbitral Tribunal, after hearing evidence and legal arguments from the parties. A dedicated ICSID case team is assigned to each case and provides expert assistance throughout the process. More than 600 such cases have been administered by ICSID to date.

ICSID also promotes greater awareness of international law on foreign investment and the ICSID process. It has an extensive program of publications, including the leading ICSID Review-Foreign Investment Law Journal and it regularly publishes information about its activities and cases. ICSID staff organize events, give numerous presentations and participate in conferences on international investment dispute settlement worldwide.

ICSID And Arbitration

The ICSID Convention provides the framework for the conduct of an arbitration proceeding. The main procedural provisions are contained in Chapters IV to VII of the Convention. These provisions cross-reference other provisions, such as Article 14(1) of the Convention concerning the required qualities of an arbitrator. The conditions for jurisdiction are in Chapter II.

All provisions of the Convention are mandatory except when the Convention allows parties to agree otherwise. If a question of procedure arises which is not covered by the Convention or by the applicable Arbitration Rules, the Tribunal has discretion to decide the question (see Article 44 of the Convention).

The Institution Rules

The Institution Rules explain how to institute an arbitration proceeding, including the form and contents of the request for arbitration. They apply to the steps taken between filing a request for arbitration until dispatch of the notice of registration. Article 36 of the Convention also applies to this period. On average, cases are registered within three weeks of the Centre receiving the request for arbitration with supporting materials and the fee for lodging the request.

The Institution Rules do not apply to the institution of post-award remedy proceedings under the ICSID Convention and Arbitration Rules.

The Arbitration Rules

The Arbitration Rules govern the arbitration proceeding once a request for arbitration has been registered. They complement the ICSID Convention procedural provisions, including provisions concerning post-award remedies.

Article 44 of the ICSID Convention provides that arbitrations will be conducted in accordance with the Arbitration Rules in effect on the date on which the parties consented to arbitration, except as the parties otherwise agree. The current rules came into effect on April 10, 2006.

The Administrative and Financial Regulations

The Administrative and Financial Regulations contain provisions concerning:

  • the costs of the proceeding (Regulation 14 to 16);
  • publication of case-related information (Regulation 22);
  • functions with respect to individual proceedings, including the ICSID Secretariat’s services (Regulation 23 to 29);
  • calculation of time limits and submission of supporting documentation (Regulation 29 to 30);
  • immunities and privileges (Regulation 31 to 32); and
  • official languages (Regulation 34).

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