FAQs

If you trade under ICA Bylaws & Rules, you have the right to apply for ICA arbitration in the event of a contract dispute

Can a non-registered firm use the ICA arbitration service?

Yes. You may have to pay an application fee to the ICA. For quality arbitration there is no application fee. If, on the day before the date of the contract giving rise to the dispute, either party has its name circulated on the ICA List of Unfulfilled Awards applications will not be accepted. You can view all the current fees here >

How do you start an arbitration?

You will need to complete an online arbitration application form and send us a copy of the contract(s) that the dispute concerns, together with the contact details of the other party. You will also need to appoint an ICA arbitrator and inform the other party of your intention to go to arbitration. This can all be done via the online application. You can apply online here >

Is ICA arbitration expensive?

No. Compared with court proceedings and other commodity trade associations, ICA arbitration is not expensive. To provide transparency, we have introduced a standard time sheet that will enable the parties to an arbitration to immediately compare costs. Chairmen are empowered to monitor and query any fees charged.

Who pays the arbitration costs?

We require the Claimant to pay the first deposit of £4,000, which is for the costs, fees and expenses of the Arbitration, as they are the party bringing the arbitration. The Respondent will also be asked for a deposit of £4,000. Further deposits may be requested if necessary.

What are arbitrators allowed to charge?

They are able to charge a fee of up to £150 per hour. This rate compares favourably to rates charged by arbitrators in other commodity associations and is considerable less than fees charged by an English lawyer. To ensure transparency, all arbitrators must complete and submit a time sheet showing a complete breakdown of fees.

What does the ICA charge?

Charges vary depending on whether you are an ICA member/non-member and they are made up of a number of elements e.g. application fee, stamping fee, courier costs. You can view all the current fees here >

What can I expect of ICA arbitrators?

ICA arbitrators will be well versed in their duties, especially the need to act fairly and impartially. They will be proficient in spoken and written English to a level that enables them to put forward viewpoints and engage in a debate on the merits of a case. They will have at least five year’s experience in the trade and will have taken the necessary qualifying exams.

Is it possible to conduct ICA arbitration in countries other than the UK?

Yes. ICA arbitrations can take place in other countries, provided that the ICA arbitrators are able to discuss the case and they keep in contact with the ICA, who administer the process. A large number of ICA arbitrations take place by Skype/telephone conference call, as well as physical meetings. The tribunal will decide where and when meetings will take place. The applicable law remains as English Law.

Why do ICA Bylaws & Rules not cover all incidents and occasions of trading?

The ICA Bylaws & Rules are the default position for parties in the event that they have not agreed specific terms for trading. Much will also depend on what the parties have agreed in their contracts. The parties can add whatever they consider relevant to their contract, including changing or omitting any of the ICA Rules, as long as they both agree. (Please note: Bylaws cover mandatory arbitration procedures. Rules cover trade rules and are optional).

What is the main difference between Chinatex, CCA and ICA Bylaws & Rules?

There are many differences between the three sets of Bylaws & Rules. The main ones are considered to be arbitration, value differences, invoicing back, late shipment and opening of the letter of credit.

Does a contract need to be signed to be valid?

No. According to English Law, a contract does not have to be signed if there is evidence that it was agreed by both parties. Establishing a contract requires evidence of a clear offer, an unconditional acceptance and that both sides are getting some form of benefit from the deal.

A signed and stamped contract is the best way to demonstrate this, but evidence of agreement can be found in a number of other ways such as: subsequent correspondence confirming that the terms are agreed; conduct of the parties which indicates that both consider themselves bound by its terms; or in the case of standard or repeat terms used for more than one transaction (a course of dealings) which evidences the parties’ agreement that the same terms apply.

The important aspect is that there is evidence of a written arbitration agreement in writing. This can normally be found within the written contract by which the parties have agreed to be bound. This is normally by way of an arbitration clause which will specify ICA Rules and Arbitration.

(Please note: This is a very simplified summary and you should seek advice from your own advisor if you have a question about your own contract/dispute)

Can parties change or amend ICA Rules in a contract?

Yes. Parties can change or amend terms of their contracts and the ICA Rules, provided that they are both in agreement to the amendments made. However, Bylaws cannot be changed.

If the claim for the first contract is not paid by the seller overseas, can the buyer cancel the next contract?

This will depend on the terms of your contract, but if nothing is stated then the answer is no.

How do I obtain the ICA Rulebook and Value Differences?

You can download the ICA Bylaws & Rule here >

You can download the Value Differences Circular here >

Can the parties use controllers’ assessment for quality settlement using ICA Bylaws & Rules?

Yes. The parties can use whatever quality testing or inspecting reports they agree to resolve quality disputes through ICA arbitration. If both parties agree, controllers’ assessment can be used for ICA arbitration.

How do I enforce an ICA Award?

ICA Awards are recognised in the English Courts as having the same status as a Court Order. The Awards should therefore be recognised by the courts of those countries that have ratified the New York Convention. You will need to seek advice from your own advisers on the process for enforcing an ICA Award, depending on the country in which you are trying to enforce your Award. The ICA has set up several enforcement groups in specific countries to help provide local knowledge, legal contacts, information and best practice to assist in enforcing awards. Please contact us for more information.

Is there an alternative to arbitration?

Yes, you could consider ICA mediation. Mediation is an alternative, flexible and cost effective dispute resolution service that can take place before, during and after arbitration.

Find out more about mediation here >

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