Partner, Litigation Department Head
M: (63908) 882 1099
E: rmpgongkiko@syciplaw.com

SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan
SyCipLaw Center, 105 Paseo de Roxas, Makati City, Philippines
Tel: (632) 982 3500, 982 3600, 982 3700
Fax: (632) 817 3145, 817 3896

The Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. (PDRCI), the leading commercial arbitration institution in the Philippines, recently amended its Arbitration Rules to adopt modern international commercial arbitration practice.

Among others:

1. Article 7 authorizes a Request for Joinder of additional parties, if an arbitration agreement exists and binds all the parties and the additional party. In the absence of an agreement on the appointment of the tribunal, PDRCI may revoke the confirmation of arbitrators previously appointed before the joinder, and proceed to appoint the new arbitrators.

2. Article 8 recognizes an arbitration with multiple parties, where claims and cross-claims may be made by any party against any other party.

3. Article 9 permits a single arbitration of claims relating to more than one contract, provided that the arbitration agreements under which the claims are made are compatible.

4. Article 10 authorizes the consolidation of two or more arbitrations, where (a) the parties agree to consolidate, or (b) all the claims are made under the same arbitration agreement, or (c) the claims are made under different arbitration agreements, but there is a common question of law or fact, the rights to relief claimed relate to the same transaction, and PDRCI finds the arbitration agreements compatible.

5. Article 52 provides for an expedited procedure (with, among others, shorter time limits, simplified procedure, and an award based on documents and materials only and reasons in summary form) where (a) the amount of dispute does not exceed PhP 25 Million (about USD 560 Thousand), or (b) the parties so agree, or (c) in case of exceptional urgency.

6. Finally, Article 53 provides for an Emergency Arbitrator, who shall consider an application for an Emergency Relief prior to the constitution of the tribunal. The Emergency Decision ceases to be binding (a) upon the tribunal rendering a final award, (b) upon the withdrawal of all claims or the termination of the arbitration before rendering of a final award, or (c) if the tribunal is not constituted within 90 days from the date of the Emergency Decision. The Emergency Decision may be modified, suspended or terminated, by the tribunal.

The new Rules were expressly made applicable to PDRCI arbitrations commenced after 1 January 2015, unless the parties agree otherwise. It is hoped that the updating of the PDRCI Rules will help spur the use of arbitration to resolve domestic and international commercial disputes in the Philippines.

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