Law commission

Arbitration Law Under the Law Commission’s Microscope | News

The 25-year-old Arbitration Act may need reform in the face of competition from foreign jurisdictions, the Law Commission said today, announcing a review of the main legislation governing arbitrations in England, the Land of Wales and Northern Ireland. The review “aims to ensure that the UK remains at the forefront” of the international dispute resolution market in the face of competition from centers such as Dubai and Singapore.

Professor Sarah Green, Commercial and Common Law Commissioner, said: “The quality of the Arbitration Act 1996 has helped London to become a leading seat for international arbitrations, however, certain aspects of the law could be improved in the light of modern arbitration practices.

“The work of the Law Commission will improve the experience of those who choose to arbitrate in England and Wales and will maintain English law as the benchmark in international arbitrations.”

A consultation document should be published at the end of next year. Possible areas of work include:

  • The power to summarily dismiss unsubstantiated claims or defenses in arbitration proceedings
  • The powers of courts that may be exercised in support of arbitration proceedings
  • Procedure for contesting a judgment of jurisdiction
  • The availability of appeals in cassation
  • Confidentiality and Privacy Law in Arbitration Proceedings
  • Electronic Service of Documents, Electronic Arbitral Awards and Virtual Hearings.

Catherine Dixon, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, said: “While there are differing views on the need for change, 25 years after it was enacted it is right that the legislation be reviewed to ensure that the framework it provides remains effective, agile and responsive to the changing landscape of dispute resolution around the world.