First Procedural Meeting - UNCITRAL Arbitration
The purpose of holding a first procedural meeting is to discuss certain procedural issues relating to the conduct of the arbitration such as the applicable arbitration rules, language(s) to be used, place of arbitration, the procedural calendar, etc.
This meeting is usually held shortly after the Tribunal has been constituted. Once the Tribunal is constituted, the Secretary of the Tribunal determines the availability of the Tribunal members and contacts the parties with proposed date(s) and venue (or, where appropriate, a proposal for a telephone- or videoconference) for the first procedural meeting.
Setting the First Procedural Meeting
The procedural meeting can be held in person, by telephone or by videoconference.
The parties may agree on any location for this meeting, provided that the Tribunal approves such venue and there are suitable facilities. The Tribunal often proposes a venue for the parties’ consideration.
Most in-person hearings are held at the World Bank’s facilities in Washington, D.C., or Paris, France. ICSID can also arrange hearings at other locations around the world, especially at World Bank premises or at the premises of other arbitration centers (organizations with which ICSID has concluded collaboration agreements. The rentals of rooms at the World Bank’s facilities are included in ICSID's administrative charges.
An increasing number of procedural hearings are held by telephone or videoconference to reduce cost and travel time. However, this decision is taken by the Tribunal and the parties, considering factors such as the number of outstanding issues.
Issues to be Discussed
The first procedural meeting is intended to address any matters of procedure that the parties and the Tribunal wish to establish at the outset of the proceeding. A model draft agenda has been developed by the Centre taking into account standard procedural items that are usually discussed during the first procedural meeting.
The Secretary of the Tribunal usually circulates a draft procedural order approved by the Tribunal to the parties for their comments well in advance of the procedural meeting.
The first procedural meeting sometimes includes oral submissions on a party’s request for bifurcation of the proceeding, or a request for provisional measures.
The agreements reached and the procedural decisions taken by the Tribunal are included in a procedural order which is signed by the President of the Tribunal and circulated to the parties by the Secretary of the Tribunal promptly after the procedural meeting. Parties may arrange for subsequent procedural meetings with the Tribunal.