The C.A.M.P. is supervised by a permanent secretariat who can immediately answer a request for arbitration sent by the parties to a dispute and ensures the coordination between the arbitrators and the parties during the proceedings, as well as the supervision of each file until the notification of awards for enforcement.
The arbitration Rules of the C.A.M.P. have been drawn up in accordance with the provisions of the Code de Procédure Civile and the fundamental rules of civil proceedings such as the due hearing of both parties before judgment, discovery, independence and the impartiality of the arbitrators.
These rules include a fast-track arbitration procedure which can be followed in case of emergency., when the legitimate interests of either party are in grave danger. When such emergency , appraised by the Comité, is acknowledged, the solution to a dispute can be proposed within a period varying from 3 to 4 months.
Mediation Rules allow the parties, who wish so, to find an amicable settlement to their dispute, before following the normal way of arbitration.
The institution of the “Comité de la Chambre”, which comprises the President, two titular members and six supplementary members chosen among the more distinguished arbitrators, is one of the main particularities of the Chambre.
The role of the Comité is :
– the appointment of the third arbitrator (or the sole arbitrator) of the first or second degree Tribunal or in case of fast-track arbitration,
– the examination of all arbitral awards before their notification to the parties, with a view to suggest to the arbitrators any modifications of form and draw their attention to the merits of the case. This examination does not, however, have any effect on the full independence and impartiality of the arbitrators, as any comments made are not mandatory and are to be considered merely as suggestions. Thus the independence of the arbitrators is always respected.
The awards are made by the arbitrators in their own name. The name and profession of all arbitrators appear on a pre-determined list (where about sixty names are recorded), which is adopted by a decision of the General Assembly of the members of the Chambre . These arbitrators are professionals who work or have worked in companies with activities principally in international maritime trade and industry. However, they are not professional arbitrators. There are 3 principal categories of arbitrators :
– professionals of maritime trade : ship-owners, charterers, ship-brokers, insurers, cargo and ship-agents, freight forwarders…
– lawyers : maritime law professors, in-house lawyers, judges etc…
– technicians : naval architects, masters mariner, chief engineers, maritime experts…
The diversity of knowledge and skills of each of the arbitrators on the list offered by the Chambre permits the arbitration Tribunals to be chosen according to the particularities of each dispute. Thus each case is judged by specialists and the decisions are taken on an objective basis.
Owing to this diversity, the nomination of experts is very scarce.
The proceedings are initiated by a request for arbitration lodged with the secretariat of the Chambre. After an exchange of statements and documents and the payment by each party of the sum necessary to cover the costs and the fees of the arbitration (deposit calculated according to an arbitration fees and expenses schedule annexed to the Rules), the Arbitration Tribunal responsible for the matter is appointed.
It generally consists of 3 arbitrators: one is chosen by each party and the third who chairs the Tribunal is chosen by the Comité de la Chambre. Exceptionally, persons not included on the list of arbitrators can be chosen by the parties for disputes of a specific nature, subject to being accepted by the Comité. At the request of the parties, some disputes may be settled by a sole arbitrator. During the proceedings, the Tribunal holds a hearing to which the parties or their lawyers are invited to attend.After the hearing the arbitrators fix the date of the close of submissions and the start of their deliberations, which are kept secret.
The award is normally made within 6 months, unless an extension is granted by the Committee of the Chambre. The award is immediately notified to the parties after having been submitted to the members of the Committee.
It is up to the parties to sue, if necesary, to enforce awards.
Awards are binding on the parties who cannot appeal before the judicial courts, unless the arbitrators have violated the fundamental principles of arbitration proceedings or a rule of Public Law. In this case, the parties can only request that the award be set aside by the competent Court of Appeal. The state judicial authority therefore retains some control over arbitration proceedings but the request for the setting aside of the award does not give the Court of Appeal the right to rule on the merits.
SECOND DEGREE EXAMINATION
The original feature of proceedings before the Chambre is the possibility given to the parties to submit their dispute to a double examination. Indeed, any party can require that a dispute for which an award has been made be submitted to a second degree examination.
This tribunal makes the final award within six months of submission of the new statements by the parties. This final award overrides the first one which is then considered as null and void.
This second degree examination is a particularity of the proceedings before the C.A.M.P.
It is a guarantee for the parties that arbitral justice will be rendered in an objective and independent manner.
French arbitrators are largely free from the rules established for French judicial Courts. They may rule according to the law that has been chosen by the parties (thus French arbitrators can be requested to apply English law if such is the wish of the parties).
They should refer to the practices of international maritime trade, i.e. “lex mercatoria”. This is one of the major differences with the other important arbitration centres. French law encourages this approach (Article 1496 of the Code de Procédure Civile states that “the arbitrator should always take into account the customs of the trade”), which permits a more flexible justice for the parties where equity is not excluded.
As for the procedure, the law of the place of arbitration is to apply, i.e. the French law.
The parties have a particular interest in the length and cost of arbitration proceedings. The C.A.M.P. offers relatively fast proceedings and at a reasonable cost.
The total cost of an arbitration, covering the administation costs of the Chamber and the fees of the arbitrators depends on the total amount of the claims and counter-claims advanced by the parties. A scale of arbitration costs for a three member arbitration panel attached to the Rules allows the parties to know exactly the required amount :
– 3.850 € for a total amount of claim of 15.000 €,
– 11.800 € for a total amount of claim of 100.000 €,
– 29.600 € for a total amount of claim of 500.000 €.
In the case of a sole arbitrator these costs are brought down to 60% of the above amounts.
NATURE OF THE CLAIMS
The disputes normally submitted to the arbitrators of the Chamber involve the following:
chartering of vessels or carriage of goods by sea, or on river, executed under a contract, such as a charter party, a booking note, a bill of lading, a tonnage contract, a booking note etc…
the determination of the amount of the freight or accessories such as demurrage, despatch money, dead freight,
ship building, repairs or ship classification,
casualties at sea: collision, assistance, general average, grounding, wreck, fire etc…
sale and purchase,
supply and bunkering of vessels,
insurance policies and insurance claims (cargo claims – damage and shortage)
relations between the ship operators and maritime auxiliaries such as ship agents, freight forwarders, stevedores…
The activity of the Chamber varies. Statistically, about 100 requests for arbitration are filed each year. Whilst this number does not necessarily imply an equivalent number of awards, it does indicate in a significant way the role played and the position of the C.A.M.P. in international maritime arbitration.
Arbitration decisions naturally differ from venue to venue, with New York, London and Paris capable of handing down differing awards on similar issue. But it is noticeable that several awards published in Paris have corresponded to those handed down in other leading international maritime arbitration centres.
There is then a definite general tendency in favour of unification of international maritime arbitration. The Chambre Arbitrale Maritime de Paris will have an important ongoing role to play in that respect, amongst the leading maritime arbitration centre all over the world.