Review of the Arbitration Act 1996 – The Law Society response
To make sure that arbitration law is is fit for purpose in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and we remain a leading destination for commercial arbitrations, the Law Commission has proposed provisional reforms to the Arbitration Act 1996.
Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution where a third party is appointed to resolve the dispute. Instead of going to court, the arbitrator may issue an award.
The act works as a framework for arbitration in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It has not been revised since 1996, and needs updating to cover developments such as emergency arbitration.
The UK government asked the Law Commission to review the act to:
- find any potential amendments
- make sure it is fit for purpose
- make sure it continues to promote the UK as a leading destination for commercial arbitrations
The first consultation took place between September and December 2022.
In March 2023, the Law Commission published a second consultation on its provisional proposals, revisiting specific areas including:
- the proper law of the arbitration agreement
- challenges to awards under section 67 on the basis that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction; and
- discrimination in the context of arbitration
The Law Society response was led by members of the International Committee, who carefully considered the revised proposals, especially the more controversial issue of discrimination in the context of arbitration. Bristol Law Society was also represented in these discussions.
You can read the full report and views here