Equa Institutional Rules

Preamble

Equa is a Virtual Dispute Resolution Centre that affords people access to easy and quick redressal of their complaints against companies and individuals and at the same time provides an opportunity for businesses to maintain good customer relations.

Part I

1. Scope of Application

1.1. These rules may be called the Equa Dispute Resolution Rules (henceforth, “ Rules”)

1.2. These rules are intended for use in the online dispute resolution framework of Equa, Virtual Dispute Resolution Centre.

1.3. The rules shall govern the dispute resolution proceedings provided by Equa on the Equa platform, www.equa.law:

a) When the parties have under a pre-existing agreement containing the Equa dispute resolution clause has agreed to refer their disputes to the Equa, or

b) Where one party to the dispute approaches Equa to resolve the dispute through its platform. In such instances, an invitation would be sent to the other party by Equa. If the invitation is accepted, the process of dispute resolution would commence as per the Rules of the Equa.

1.4. All proceedings under the Rules shall commence when the parties to the case accept the Terms and Conditions of participation for the resolution of disputes.

1.5. Part II of the Rules shall apply where the parties have agreed to refer their disputes to Equa for arbitration in accordance with the Rules.

1.6. Part III and Part IV of the Rules shall apply where the parties have agreed to refer their disputes to Equa for mediation and negotiation in accordance with the Rules in that order respectively.

2. Definitions

2.1. In these Rules, the following terms shall have the meaning provided to them herein, unless the context requires them to be interpreted otherwise:

a) Communication means any communication (including a statement, declaration, demand, notice, response, submission, proposal, notification or request) made by means of information generated, uploaded, conducted and transmitted through the Equa Platform.

b) Neutral means the mediator or the arbitrator appointed to conduct the Proceedings at the relevant time

c) Case Manager means the representative of the Equa who shall coordinate and facilitate the parties in dispute resolution proceedings.

d) Online Dispute Resolution or ODR is a mechanism for resolving disputes through the use of electronic communications and other information and communication technology

Equa – The Equa is a platform established to create a cost-effective framework for Online Dispute Resolution. This framework provides a quick and seamless technology-assisted dispute resolution process intending to ensure enforcement of the dispute in different legal jurisdictions.

Arbitral Award- Arbitral Award rendered by Equa which is enforceable under New York Convention (world) and Arbitration and Conciliation Act (India)

3. Communication

3.1. All communication prior to the assignment of case manager must be directed to registrar@equa.law.

3.2. Save as otherwise provided in these Rules, all communications in the course of any proceedings shall be communicated to Equa and uploaded to and transmitted through the online platform through website.

3.3. Equa shall promptly acknowledge receipt of any Communication by a party or the Neutral at their electronic addresses.

3.4. In agreeing to make use of the online platform, a party shall be regarded as having agreed to accept that transmission by electronic means through the online Platform constitutes valid service of any Communication.

3.5. Rule 3.4 is also applicable to any other electronic communication channels including communication medium (such as Whatsapp, Telegram) that the parties have agreed to use for correspondence.

3.6. A communication transmitted by electronic means through the Equa Online Platform shall be deemed to have been received on the day it has been dispatched.

3.7. Equa shall promptly notify all parties and the Neutral of the conclusion and of the commencement stages of negotiation proceedings, mediation proceedings and arbitration proceedings.

3.8. For the purpose of calculating a period of time under these Rules, such period shall begin to run on the day following the day a notice is received pursuant to Rule 3.6 above.

Part- II (Arbitration)

4. Dispute Resolve Process through Arbitration

4.1. The intended Claimant may first try the dispute explorer to find out the available rights and remedies and upload the requisite documents explaining the dispute in question.

4.2. After collecting all the documents and other evidence relied upon by the claimant, the system shall provide with the best possible method to be followed to manage the dispute.

4.3. In the event that the claimant intend to proceed with the method suggested by Equa platform, the claimant will be given the option to “ File a Claim/Proceed and Resolve” link that is accessible on website and the dispute proceedings will commence.

4.4. In the event that the claimant requires clarification or has questions regarding the process, the claimant shall be given the opportunity to contact the Equa administrator or such other person authorised to give more information.

Part- III (Mediation)

5. Dispute Resolve Process through Mediation

5.1. The intended Claimant may first try the dispute explorer to find out the available rights and remedies and upload the requisite documents explaining the dispute in question.

5.2. After collecting all the documents and other evidence relied upon by the claimant, the system shall provide with the best possible method to be followed to manage the dispute.

5.3. In the event that the claimant intend to proceed with the method suggested by Equa platform, the claimant will be given the option to “ File a Claim/Proceed and Resolve” link that is accessible on website and the dispute proceedings will commence.

5.4. In the event that the claimant requires clarification or has questions regarding the process, the claimant shall be given the opportunity to contact the Equa administrator or such other person authorised to give more information.

Part- IV (Negotiation)

6. Dispute Resolve Process through Negotiation

6.1. The intended Claimant may first try the dispute explorer to find out the available rights and remedies and upload the requisite documents explaining the dispute in question.

6.2. After collecting all the documents and other evidence relied upon by the claimant, the system shall provide with the best possible method to be followed to manage the dispute.

6.3. In the event that the claimant intend to proceed with the method suggested by Equa platform, the claimant will be given the option to “ File a Claim/Proceed and Resolve” link that is accessible on website and the dispute proceedings will commence.

6.4. In the event that the claimant requires clarification or has questions regarding the process, the claimant shall be given the opportunity to contact the Equa administrator or such other person authorised to give more information.

Part- IV (Procedural Rules)

7. Pre- Dispute Consultation

7.1. Within 7 days (time period) of reference to resolution process to Equa, the ODR platform shall send a notification which lists out the details of pre- dispute consultation meeting and the case manager assigned to the

7.2. The Pre- Dispute Consultation Meeting shall give a brief overview of the resolution process, how to use the Equa platform and answer all queries the parties to the dispute may have.

7.3. The Case Manager shall be available for any administrative, secretarial and Equa related queries that the Parties may have for the duration of the case.

8. Appointment of Neutral

8.1. In the event that the complainant and respondent has chosen to settle the dispute by referring it to arbitration or mediation proceedings through the Equa platform, a single neutral shall be appointed by selection from a list of qualified neutrals maintained by Equa.

8.2. Upon appointment of the Neutral, Equa shall promptly notify the parties of the name of the Neutral and any other relevant or identifying information in relation to that Neutral.

8.3. In the instance that the appointment is being made for arbitration proceedings, if the parties have agreed that the Tribunal shall comprise a sole arbitrator then, unless otherwise agreed, the sole arbitrator shall be appointed by Equa. However, If the parties have agreed that the Tribunal shall comprise three arbitrators ,then, unless otherwise agreed, the Claimant(s) together shall nominate one arbitrator, the Respondent(s) together shall nominate one arbitrator and the two nominees appointed by the parties shall together nominate a third presiding arbitrator.

8.4. At the time of appointing a neutral, Equa shall take in to consideration the qualifications of the neutral, if any., requested by the parties to the dispute.

8.5. The neutral shall declare his or her independence and shall disclose to the Equa any circumstances that is likely to give rise to justifiable doubts as to his or her impartiality or independence. Based on the information disclosed, the ODR provider may at its discretion, not appoint the neutral.

8.6. Once the neutral is appointed, the ODR provider shall notify the parties of such appointment.

8.7. Equa shall obtain declarations from the parties stating that they have no objections to the appointment made.

8.8. The Neutral, by accepting appointment, confirms that he or she can devote the time necessary to conduct the Proceedings diligently, efficiently and in accordance with the time limits in these Rules

8.9. The Neutral shall, at the time of accepting his or her appointment, make a declaration of his or her impartiality and independence substantially similar to the form set out in (e-declaration to be made available)

9. Challenge to Neutrals

9.1. Either party may object to the Neutral's appointment within 7 days

a) of the notification of the appointment without giving reasons therefor, unless such appointment was made in accordance with the parties’ agreement on the choice of Neutral, in which case the parties may not raise any objection to the Neutral’s appointment; or

b) of a fact or matter coming to the challenging parties attention that is likely to give rise to justifiable doubts as to the impartiality or independence of the Neutral in which case the reasons giving rise to such doubts at any time during the Proceedings should be notified to the Case Manager


Part- IV (Misc.)

10. Confidentiality Clause

10.1. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties and subject to the applicable law, all communication made with and exchanged through Equa for facilitating the dispute resolution process will remain Confidential.

10.2. All the users must adhere to Equa’s Terms and Conditions which set out the Equa’s confidentiality requirement and privacy policies. The users’ are required to sign the said terms and conditions digitally demonstrating their consent to be bound by the same.

10.3. Every person involved in the process including dispute administrators, case managers, parties, their representatives, arbitrators/mediators, witnesses including both factual and expert witnesses will be required to sign an NDA/Confidentiality agreement demonstrating their consent to be bound by Equa’s confidentiality T&C

10.4. Whether we should publish an award or not? General Provision

11. Costs Clause

The term costs are inclusive of

(i) The fees paid to the Arbitrator/s/Mediators

(ii) Experts appointed by the Tribunal to assist them in the evaluation of evidence or for any other purpose as seen fit by the arbitrator.

(iii) Legal and other cost incurred during the Arbitral Proceedings/Mediation

(iv) The case Management fee charged by Equa

12. Data Protection

Any processing of personal data by the Equa is subject to applicable data protection legislation, and the Equa’s data protection notice can be found on the Equa website.

In accordance with its duties under, at an early stage of the arbitration, the Arbitral Tribunal shall, in consultation with the parties and where appropriate the Equa, consider whether it is appropriate to adopt:

(i) any specific information security measures to protect the physical and electronic information shared in the arbitration; and

(ii) any means to address the processing of personal data produced or exchanged in the arbitration in light of applicable data protection or equivalent legislation.

The Equa and the Arbitral Tribunal may issue directions addressing information security or data protection, which shall be binding on the parties, and in the case of those issued by the Equa, also on the members of the Arbitral Tribunal, subject to the mandatory provisions of any applicable law or rules of law.


13. Alteration of Costs

Prevalently, the costs of arbitration shall principally be shared equally by both the parties/borne by the unsuccessful party or parties. However, Equa Reserves/Arbitrator reserves the right to apportion the cost in the manner it deems fit depending on the facts and circumstances of each case.


14. Legal Representative

The parties are free to appoint the legal representative of their choice.

The parties required to specify the authority to act, name and contact information of such a person in Statement of Claim or Defence filed by them respectively.


15. Allocation of Costs- Decide

Either to be borne equally by both the parties, i.e. parties will be jointly and severally liable for the fees and expenses set out in the clause mentioned above

Or

Cost of Arbitration to be borne by the losing party or parties. In such a case the losing party will be required to indemnify the successful party for any costs incurred by them.

16. Exclusion of Liability

16.1. Per the rules, parties are required to waive, to the fullest extent permitted under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996, any claim against Equa, its agents and employees on any act or omission conducted during the conduct of ODR proceedings or in connection with it.

16.2. The provision doesn’t include within its ambit international wrongdoings and fraudulent activities conducted by the Equa, its agent, employees and the neutrals.

16.3. Any comments whether oral or written made by Neutrals, Equa, its agent and employees during the course of arbitration proceedings or in connection with it will not be construed in a denunciatory manner and will not act as a valid ground for the action of defamation, libel, slander and any other complaint.


17. Seat of Dispute Resolution

Unless the parties have agreed otherwise or the facts and circumstances of the case warrant elseways; the seat of arbitration shall be New Delhi India.