The 2024 NAI Arbitration Rules: What do you need to know?

Arbitration Blog

The 2024 NAI Arbitration Rules: What do you need to know?
14 March 2024

On the 15th of March 2024, the Netherlands Arbitration Institute (NAI) will officially launch its updated arbitration rules (the "2024 Arbitration Rules") at a launch event in The Hague. The 2024 Arbitration Rules include several changes that aim at, for example, implementing new tools for resolving disputes faster, preventing guerilla tactics, supporting diversity in arbitrators' appointments, and making the arbitration process more accessible to first time users by clarifying the rules and codifying established practice. We describe the most notable changes below. The 2024 Arbitration Rules entered into force on 1 March 2024. 

New tools for the faster resolution of disputes

First and foremost, the 2024 Arbitration Rules introduce expedited arbitral proceedings (Article 42 and Appendix D). The expedited arbitration rules will be applicable by default to proceedings where the claims do not exceed EUR 1,000,000, unless the parties have agreed otherwise. Parties can, however, also agree to apply the expedited arbitration rules to their dispute when higher amounts are involved. 

The expedited arbitration rules require the arbitrator to be appointed within one month of the proceedings having been commenced (Article D4(5)). Parties will have only one round of written submissions and the hearing will in principle be held virtually. The expedited arbitration rules shorten the proceedings to facilitate a quick resolution of the dispute (i.e. the award must be rendered within six months of the initiation of the proceedings). However, it is unclear what the consequence of not abiding by the prescribed time limits would be. Other institutions, for instance, penalise arbitrators who fail to render an award within the allowed timeframe by reducing their fees. We are therefore curious to see how the NAI will enforce these time limits in practice.

Another helpful feature of the 2024 Arbitration Rules is the introduction of the early determination of unfounded disputes (Article 45). At the request of a party, the arbitral tribunal may decide by way of an order or an award that a claim is either manifestly inadmissible, outside the tribunal's jurisdiction or manifestly legally unfounded, after having given the parties an opportunity to present their views. The decision must be rendered within 30 days. 

Preventing guerilla tactics

The 2024 Arbitration Rules are also geared towards anticipating, addressing and preventing attempts by the parties to use guerrilla tactics to disrupt or delay the arbitral process.

For instance, the NAI Challenge Chamber is now able to reject a challenge if it finds that the challenging party is abusing its right (Article B3(8)). This will prevent unfounded challenges delaying the arbitral process due to the time required for challenge proceedings and the possible issues of 'due process paranoia' that such challenges could give rise to. 

Additionally, to tackle parties' attempts to delay the proceedings the tribunal now must "take into account the manner in which parties conducted the proceedings as well as whether each of the parties promoted the speedy and efficient conduct of the proceedings" when deciding on the division of the costs of the arbitration and the costs of legal assistance (Article 59(4)). Although arbitrators usually sanction parties' unacceptable conduct in costs decisions, an express written provision to this effect might dissuade the parties even more from attempted dilatory tactics and provide the tribunal with reassurance when penalising such actions. 

Promoting diversity among the arbitrators

Diversity in arbitration has rightfully become a key focus of the arbitration community. However, it has proven difficult for arbitral institutions around the world to effectively steer change in this area. This is because in most cases the parties hold the power to create greater diversity in arbitrator appointments, and diversity is often a secondary criterion. The NAI has decided to create its own tools to steer towards greater diversity by making direct appointments of both co-arbitrators and chair of the tribunal by the NAI the fallback method of appointment in the event the parties do not nominate an arbitrator (Article 15(7)). The 2024 Arbitration Rules also specify that the parties, their counsel and the NAI will take diversity and inclusivity into account when nominating and appointing arbitrators (Article 15(5)) – an important signal that this still requires effort from the users and the institute alike.

  • Centralised cloud storage where the complete case file can be stored, updated and shared with participants in the arbitral proceedings;
  • Peace of mind regarding cybersecurity for the parties and arbitrators; and
  • Enhanced archiving tools to ensure compliance with data protection regulations.

We look forward to seeing how the platform will function and how it will develop in the future.

Enhancing accessibility to first time users 

The NAI also used this update as an opportunity to clarify the existing rules and codify established procedural practice. For instance, Article 50(4) lays down the scrutiny of the award undertaken by the NAI. The NAI already undertook a quality and validity check of the draft award. This provision, however, clarifies the limits within which the scrutiny is performed, while stating that the arbitral tribunal remains responsible for both the content and form of the award. Articles 26 and 30 introduce the requirement for the tribunal to organise a case management conference and a midstream conference with the parties, respectively. Furthermore, the provision regarding the arbitrator's declaration of independence, impartiality and availability has been revised for greater intelligibility. We expect that including every step of the arbitral process in the rules will help both first-time arbitrators and first-time users (Article 13(3)). 


Filling the gaps

Finally, the 2024 Arbitration Rules also play an important role in filling gaps that have arisen since the last update in 2015. An important new addition is Article 11, which allows for multi-contract arbitrations. This was an omission and shortcoming in the 2015 Arbitration Rules, meaning that multi-contract arbitration requests were not possible and that parties had to rely on the consolidation of the proceedings. Article 11 of the 2024 Arbitration Rules not only allows for multi-contract arbitrations but also provides a pre-appointment mechanism if a party disputes that the various contracts can be dealt with in a single arbitration. The introduction of this provision will provide for improved resolution of complex disputes, which are becoming increasingly common in international commercial arbitration. Another addition to the 2024 Arbitration Rules is the disclosure of third-party funding and the identity of that third party in the request for arbitration and the short answer (Articles 8(2)(k) and 9(2)(f)). Given the proliferation of, and increased attention to, third-party funding, this is also a welcome addition to the 2024 Arbitration Rules. 



The NAI has made significant improvements to its 2024 Arbitration Rules, enhancing the speed at which disputes can be resolved, and preventing the use of guerilla tactics, while focusing on diversity and inclusivity and making the arbitral process clearer for first time users. The NAI has also provided for clearer procedural guidelines and a new NAI platform which should make it easier for parties, counsel and arbitrators to use the NAI's services. This update places the NAI in a competitive position in the European arbitration market.






Written by:

Key Contact

Foreign Associate

Key Contact

Advocaat | Associate