Stipulates

Each association has issued details of its schemes – The LMAA Small Claims Procedure 1989 (Revised 1st January 2002), and The SMA Shortened Claims Procedure – these details are available from their respective offices or web sites. The maximum amount at dispute under the SMA scheme is left to the decision of the contracting parties, whilst the LMAA originally recommended a maximum of US$ 25,000 but $50,000 is now suggested in the latest revision.  Both associations stress that these schemes are not designed for complex issues even where the sum in the dispute is within this limitation, nor for disputes which necessitate considerable examination of witnesses. Equally, the procedure may prove practicable for handling claims larger than US$ 50,000 where there is a single, straightforward issue to be resolved. The LMAA scheme stipulates a sole arbitrator, and this seems to be preferred by the SMA, although the New York body does not rule out a larger panel. In both cases the arbitrators’ fees are fixed at a reasonable level; the LMAA terms currently specifying a fixed fee of £1250 for a sole arbitrator (with £500 extra if the respondent files a counter-claim); the SMA stipulates US$ 1500 for each participating arbitrator. Costs can be awarded at the sole discretion of the arbitrator but these, under LMAA terms are restricted to £1,750. Normally there is no oral presentation by the parties unless the arbitrator particularly wishes otherwise. The aim under the Small Claims procedure is for the award to be provided within a month of receiving all the papers from the parties. In the case of London, the right of appeal to the courts is specifically excluded, each party being required to confirm in writing its agreement to this procedure.