UK Arbitration Bill

The UK government introduced an Arbitration Bill (the “Bill”) in the House of Lords on 21 November 2023. The Bill aims to modernise arbitration law for the first time in 27 years by amending the English Arbitration Act 1996. The Bill implements all the recommendations made last year by the Law Commission of England and Wales and is expected to be enacted by mid-2024.

The amendments to the Arbitration Act 1996 include clarifying the law governing arbitration agreements, strengthening the English courts’ power to make orders in support of arbitration and facilitating a more efficient resolution of disputes, by reducing delays and costs. Mor specifically, these amendments include:

  • Increasing the efficiency of arbitration on claims that have no real prospect of success, by allowing arbitrators to issue decisions akin to summary judgments in court proceedings.
  • Introducing a statutory duty of disclosure for arbitrators relating to circumstances that might reasonably give rise to justifiable doubts as to their impartiality, under which arbitrators must disclose both facts of which they are actually aware and of which they ought reasonably to know.
  • Extending the immunity of arbitrators so that they are not held liable for resigning, unless the resignation proves to have been unreasonable, nor liable for the costs of their removal, unless they have acted in bad faith.
  • Clarification of the law governing arbitration agreements, which will be that of the place chosen for the arbitration, unless the parties expressly agree otherwise.
  • Simplification of the procedure for challenging arbitral awards on jurisdictional grounds, under which a full review of the evidence or the presentation of new evidence or arguments are no longer permitted.
  • Power of courts to issue orders in support of those made by emergency arbitrators, to remedy issues caused by non-compliance with the awards and measures of emergency arbitrators.
  • Power of courts to issue orders in arbitration proceedings against third parties, thereby aligning arbitration proceedings with judicial proceedings against third parties.




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