The Grain and Feed Trade Association (Gafta) has amended its arbitration rules No. 125. The changes are minor and mainly related to the conduct of oral hearings by the Tribunal or the Board of Appeal.
The general position under rule 1.3 is that the oral hearings (if any) shall take place in London (specific location to be designated by Gafta) or elsewhere if agreed by the parties in writing. In this regard, rule 4.8 was amended to allow the Tribunal in exceptional circumstances, where its majority is unable to travel to the designated place of hearing, to convene a virtual hearing using such electronic media as it deems fit. Rule 12.1 as to the appeal hearings was amended similarly.
Gafta has also shortened the term for the payment of fees, costs and expenses called for after lodging the appeal from 60 days to 30 days (rule 10 (c)). In case of non-payment the appeal may be deemed lapsed.
Although not expressly stated, we understand that the amendments related to the conduct of hearings were made in response to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as regards the possibility to travel. In particular, many countries have restricted international flights or prohibited foreigners from entering their territory except in limited circumstance. As to the UK, most of the visitors other than from countries on the travel corridors list must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, which complicates conduct of oral hearings.
The new rules are effective as of 1 September 2020.
Another change which was made earlier this year but was not widely commented is that the deposit amounts were increased (except for first tier sole arbitrator cases where the deposit remained unchanged and estimates at £8,000). The amount of deposit to be called for is now as follows:
- £12,000 when both parties are members
- £13,500 when one party is a non-member
- £15,000 when both parties are non-members
- £17,000 for all appeals
- £8,000 for first tier sole arbitrator cases
Previously the maximum amount of the deposit in the first tier was £13,000 when both parties were non-members, and the deposit for appeals was £15,000.
This press-release was prepared by Danil Hristich, Senior Associate, and Sergey Platonov, Associate.
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