Northern Ireland lawyers urged to respond to arbitration reform consultation
Northern Ireland lawyers have been urged to respond to a consultation on reforms to the principal legislation governing arbitrations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Law Commission of England and Wales last month unveiled proposals to update the Arbitration Act 1996 to ensure that the UK continues to be the foremost destination for international arbitration.
Arbitration in the UK commonly involves commercial disputes but can also involve other areas, such as family law.
The Law Commission has concluded that the 1996 Act still functions well and that its central provisions should remain unchanged, but has proposed a set of improvements following recent reforms by competing jurisdictions.
The new proposals include measures to improve the efficiency of cases, give further protections to arbitrators, grant extra provisions to the courts to support cases, and refine the process for challenging an arbitrator and their decisions.
In other areas, including provisions on confidentiality and impartiality, the Commission proposes no changes, on the grounds that the law is already effective and proportionate.
A spokesperson for the Law Commission told Irish Legal News: “Our proposals are restricted to England and Wales, but the Act extends to Northern Ireland. If any amendments are made to the Act, it would be necessary to consider whether they should also extend to Northern Ireland.”
The consultation paper and details on how to respond are available from the Law Commission website.