Istanbul Arbitration Center (ISTAC)
ISTAC has been established in 2015 based on the Law No. 6570, entitled the Istanbul Arbitration Center Law as an impartial and independent institution to administer both domestic and international arbitration disputes, with the goal of rendering Istanbul/Turkey a major regional hub for international arbitration. Compared to other arbitration institutions, ISTAC is a very cost-efficient arbitration center, due to both the usage of Turkish Lira currency, and the competitiveness of its registration fees, arbitrators’ fees and the administrative costs. These, coupled with the unique position of Istanbul in terms of its location at the center of Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa, as well as the priority given to the development of arbitration in Turkey, makes ISTAC arbitration an attractive alternative dispute resolution method for parties located in many different jurisdictions. The ISTAC Arbitration Rules, which were also introduced in 2015 are broadly comparable with rules of other major institutions. Apart from the regular Arbitration Rules, ISTAC has also introduced Fast Track Arbitration Rules which provide shorter time-limits and an expedited process to the benefit of the parties to arbitration. We provide a brief overview of these Rules below.
ISTAC Fast-Track Arbitration Rules
ISTAC’s Fast-Track Arbitration Rules automatically apply to claims below TRY300,000, unless the parties to the dispute agree otherwise. In addition, the parties can still opt for the Fast-Track Rules even when the total value in dispute is more than the amount mentioned above (Article 1.1). On the other hand, taking into account the circumstances of the case at issue, the Board of Arbitration may decide for the application of regular ISTAC Arbitration Rules, if one of the parties so requests (Article 1.3).
Under the ISTAC Fast-Track Rules, disputes are resolved by a sole arbitrator, unless otherwise agreed by the parties (Article 3.1). The sole arbitrator must then issue the final award within 3 months starting from receipt of the file and at the latest within one month from the last statement or last hearing (Articles 7.1, 8.1). To make this possible, the Fast-Track Rules provide for shorter time limits for each step of the arbitral process. For example, the time period for responding to the statement of claim is shortened from 30 days to 15 (Article 3.2); and the procedural timetable, which contains procedural details such as the dates for hearings and submissions, is to be prepared on consultation with the parties in 7 days from the appointment of the arbitrator (Article 4). In addition, it is stipulated in Article 5 of the Rules that the sole arbitrator may decide, after consultation with the parties, not to have a hearing if it is not deemed necessary to render the award (Article 5.2).
In conclusion, ISTAC, with its Fast-Track Arbitration Rules as outlined above, provides an effective, time-saving and cost-efficient solution for both small and larger claims in international commercial arbitration. Thus, parties to a cross-border commercial relationship that wish a speedy resolution of their disputes by way of international arbitration may take advantage of these Rules by drafting their dispute resolution clauses accordingly. Ongur&Partners, with significant experience in ISTAC administered international arbitration cases and cross-border commercial operations, stands ready to provide you with the required legal assistance.