The Istanbul Arbitration Centre (ISTAC), established in 2015, is an independent, impartial and neutral institution, providing efficient dispute resolution services for both international and domestic parties.
Arbitration proceedings are administrated by the ISTAC international board of arbitration and the general secretary. The board is chaired by Professor Ziya Akıncı, is composed of internationally prominent and leading practitioners in the area of arbitration, including Professor Jan Paulsson, Professor Bernard Hanotiau and Dr Hamid Gharavi.
ISTAC Arbitration and Mediation Rules
The ISTAC Arbitration and Mediation Rules, prepared with regard to modern institutional rules, came into force on 26 October 2015. The ISTAC Rules commit to resolve disputes in an expeditious and cost-effective way. The Rules are available in English and French on the ISTAC website (www.istac.org.tr).
ISTAC’s arbitrators’ fees and administrative costs are lower than other established institutions. The resolution of disputes at a lower cost than Turkish state courts is always promised. The fees for the arbitrators and administrative costs are calculated ad valorem, in accordance with the Rules on Costs and Fees Scales (Appendix 3 in the ISTAC Rules), based on the monetary value in dispute. The cost calculator on the ISTAC website can be easily used to determine the costs of arbitration.
Fast-track arbitration and emergency arbitrator
A major cost factor in arbitration is the duration of proceedings. ISTAC enables fast-track arbitration where disputes will be resolved within three months. Unless otherwise agreed, disputes with a value of less than 300,000 Turkish lira are subject to fast-track arbitration. The ISTAC Rules also enable use of an emergency arbitrator for parties in cases where urgent circumstances necessitate an interim measure to be taken before the constitution of the arbitral tribunal within seven days.
Freedom of parties
ISTAC Rules give parties and arbitrators sufficient power to structure arbitration proceedings. Parties have latitude to make choices regarding the proceedings, including choosing the seat of arbitration, having arbitrators without list restrictions, or being represented by foreign counsel.
Once a dispute arises, the only requirements are completion of the ISTAC Request for Arbitration form, found on the ISTAC website, along with the payment of an application fee of 300 Turkish lira.
ISTAC arbitral awards are enforceable in all countries. Turkey, as a party to the New York Convention, has the necessary legislative regulations, as its International Arbitration Law has been drafted in accordance with the UNCITRAL Model Law. While the seat of arbitration is in Turkey, ISTAC awards shall be enforced in Turkey as a domestic award, without being subject to the enforcement procedure of foreign awards.
Natural hub and facilities
Istanbul is a natural hub between Europe, Asia and the Middle East, providing a convenient arbitration venue with simple or no visa requirements, excellent flight connections and affordable accommodation prices. ISTAC also provides hearing rooms in Istanbul and Ankara. In 2017 ISTAC also inaugurated a liaison office in Ankara, in association with the Ankara Bar Association.
Since 2018, ISTAC arbitration clauses have been referred to in disputes arising out of public procurement contracts and according to public procurement regulations. In addition, bilateral investment treaties between Turkey and Ukraine, as well as Turkey and Mauritania, have included ISTAC arbitration clauses. Since its founding, ISTAC has been frequently referred to in major projects such as the financing agreement for Istanbul’s third airport, and the water supply agreement between Turkey and Northern Cyprus. In a short span of time, many cases, including international cases, have been registered under the ISTAC Rules.
Parties wishing to refer to arbitration under the ISTAC Rules, may do so by including the following clause in their contracts: “Any disputes arising out of, or in connection with the present contract shall be finally settled through arbitration under the Istanbul Arbitration Centre Arbitration Rules.”
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