Author: Syedur Rahman
15 November 2023
2 min read
The LCIA has announced a new Schedule of Costs, which applies to arbitrations registered on or after 1 December 2023. To accompany the changes, the LCIA has updated its Guidance Note and terms and conditions. The LCIA’s statement and links to the new documents can be found on the LCIA’s website.
While the Registration Fee remains unchanged (£1,950), other arbitration costs are increasing.
Perhaps the most notable increase is the maximum hourly rate for arbitrators, which increases from £500 per hour to £650 per hour. The change means that the hourly rates for arbitrators now range from £250 to £650 depending on the complexity of the case.
The Guidance Note provides a steer for when a higher rate may be appropriate. The LCIA Court will consider the particular circumstances of the case, including its complexity and any requirements as to special qualifications of the arbitrators (see paragraph 131 of the Guidance Note).
The “mere mention of sanctions” would not justify a rate towards the higher end of the range of hourly rates. But in a case involving complicated sanctions issues at the heart of the dispute, or where multiple regimes are alleged to impact the merits, the rate should be in the higher end of the range.
Other indications of a case justifying a higher rate are cases involving significant allegations of fraud, complicated shareholders’ disputes, satellite litigation and state parties (see paragraph of the 132 Guidance Note).
The other increases announced in the new Schedule of Costs include:
One of the key issues to note in the Guidance Note is the LCIA’s new approach to receipt of funds.
The LCIA will now only accept payments from (i) an account held in the name of a party to the arbitration or (ii) an account held in the name of a person or law firm authorised to act on legal matters for the party and who is on the record in the arbitration.
The guidance has also been updated for cases involving potential sanctions issues, with the LCIA saying that it may require further information in these circumstances.
That’s particularly because The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation has issued a General Licence under the Russia and Belarus Regulations for cases administered by the LCIA that involve parties subject to asset freeze sanctions in the UK.
But to avoid any unnecessary delay to the arbitration, the LCIA may still accept payments from parties and their legal representatives, including payments for Registration Fees, deposits, arbitrator fees and LCIA charges (see paragraph 276 of the Guidance Note).
Revised terms and conditions for other services provided by the LCIA also come into effect on 1 December 2023.
These relate to (i) fundholding, (ii) the administration of and/or provision of specific services in UNCITRAL arbitration (iii) holding funds by way of security, and (iv) appointment only services in adjudication, expert determinations and ad hoc arbitrations.
The changes reflect the growing complexity of cases that are referred to LCIA arbitrations. As the complexity increases, there is a demand for experienced arbitrators with specialist knowledge, who should be paid competitive rates to decide such issues. Notably, fees remain unconnected with the amount of money in dispute.
With the changes to receipt of funds and response to cases involving sanctions in mind, Professor Dr Jacomijn van Haersolte-van Hof, Director General of the LCIA cites “a stricter regulatory and compliance environment” as another reason for the changes.
Copies of the relevant documents can be downloaded from the LCIA website.
Syedur Rahman is known for his in-depth experience of serious fraud, white-collar crime and serious crime cases, as well as his expertise in worldwide asset tracing and recovery, international arbitration, civil recovery, cryptocurrency and high-stakes commercial disputes.