England: Former Supreme Court justice calls Lord Thomas’ arbitration proposals ‘wholly retrograde’

A former senior judge has criticised the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd’s proposals to allow more arbitration awards to come before the courts.

Writing in The Times, Lord Saville of Newdigate, a retired law lord and UK Supreme Court justice, said the proposed change would be a “wholly retrograde step”.

He states: “People use arbitration to resolve their disputes, not to add to the body of English commercial law,” adding “Why, in other words, should they be obliged to finance the development of English commercial law?”

Lord Saville also writes that the international community views the idea of interfering with the arbitral process with “little short of astonishment”.

“The parties have expressly agreed to use arbitration as their method of dispute resolution. By doing so they have agreed to accept the decision of their chosen tribunal instead of that of the court. What the English court would have decided is irrelevant,” he states.

He adds: “Far from helping to develop English law, it would be calculated to drive international commercial arbitration away from London, to the great loss of this country.”

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