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ICC revises DOCDEX rules – enhancing scope, transparency, and efficiency

iccSingapore, 22 April 2014 – The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has revised its DOCDEX rules, a dispute resolution mechanism specifically designed to address trade finance concerns. In addition to widening its scope to address any trade finance dispute, the new rules will also increase transparency and enhance time efficiency.

DOCDEX is a rapid, cost-effective, document-based procedure offering international bankers and traders a means to settle documentary instruments disputes – not only helping parties minimize the disruption caused by a dispute but also eliminating the need to settle the claim in court.

Decisions are reached by a panel of three independent and impartial experts, and later scrutinized by an ICC Banking Commission technical advisor. Crucially, decisions are non-binding unless both parties agree otherwise – freeing the independent experts from “due process”, and adding flexibility.

Daniel Schmand, Head of Trade Finance and Cash Management Corporates EMEA, Deutsche Bank and incoming Banking Commission Chair said: “Documentary disputes can severely impact, and often entirely halt, trade finance proceedings. And resolving them is not only a costly and lengthy process, it can also – if taken to court – irreparably damage relationships with trading partners.”

By quickly and inexpensively managing claims, DOCDEX helps minimize the disruption caused by a dispute – not only eliminating the need for protracted litigation, but also safe-guarding the partnerships that are so crucial to the banking and trade finance sectors.”

The recently revised rules – which come into force on 1 May 2015 – will significantly enhance the already advanced dispute resolution mechanism.

For one, they extend the DOCDEX scope to now address any trade finance-related dispute, including trade loans, syndications, negotiable instruments, risk purchase agreements, conflicts of priority and fraud in letters of credit – all areas that are not otherwise covered by existing ICC banking rules. As such, disputants previously left outside the ambit of DOCDEX will now be able to benefit from the service.

DOCDEX – while administered by the ICC International Centre for ADR, ICC Dispute Resolution Services – was jointly created by the ICC Banking Commission and the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR.

“Under the new DOCDEX Rules, the ICC Centre for ADR will administer fast and inexpensive procedures maintaining the highest standards of competence, impartiality and confidentiality throughout,” said Andrea Carlevaris, Director of ICC Dispute Resolution Services. “The revised Rules have been drafted in close cooperation between the Banking Commission, the Arbitration and ADR Commission and the Centre. I am confident we have been able to create a just and, crucially, convenient way for banking professionals to settle disputes without disruption.”

Georges Affaki, Chair of the Legal Committee of the ICC Banking Commission and Chair of the DOCDEX Drafting Group said: “The ICC Banking Commission has drafted the rules that are used worldwide in all the fields of trade finance. Its unrivalled network of banking and trade finance experts makes it a uniquely qualified forum to ensure that trade finance disputes receive an expert, time-efficient and cost-effective answer. That is what DOCDEX offers.” said

The revised rules will also enhance transparency – requiring ICC to publish redacted decisions in every DOCDEX case. Doing so will not only set a precedent for future cases, it will also allow ICC to analyze the panel of experts charged with forming a decision – ensuring they are both impartial and practitioners (rather than individuals operating solely on a theoretical basis).

Finally, the 2015 revision provides that filings be made in electronic form – using standard templates available on the ICC website. While speed has always been a hallmark of the DOCDEX process – decisions are typically reached within 30 days of a claim – the change in format will help to streamline case administration and, therefore, further accelerate proceedings.

The ICC DOCDEX Rules and more information on how to use the service can be found at

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