To what extent has UK adopted the jurisdiction of UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration 1985 (UNCITRAL Model Law)?
Arbitrations seated in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland are governed by the Arbitration Act 1996 (Arbitration Act). Although the Arbitration Act is comprehensive, it does not codify all elements of English arbitration law, some of which are found in the common law.
Where the seat of the arbitration is outside England, Wales, or Northern Ireland, the following sections of the Arbitration Act may apply:
- Sections 9 to 11 (stay of legal proceedings).
- Section 43 (securing the attendance of witnesses).
- Section 44 (court powers exercisable in support of arbitral proceedings).
- Section 66 (enforcement of arbitral awards).
England and Wales have not adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law (either with or without the amendments adopted in 2006), although the drafting of the Arbitration Act was, in some respects, influenced by it.
Mandatory legislative provisions
The mandatory provisions of the Arbitration Act affect, notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary (section 4(1), Arbitration Act). In contrast, the non-mandatory provisions of the Arbitration Act apply in the absence of the parties agreeing to their own arrangements (section 4(2), Arbitration Act). The full list of mandatory provisions is set out in Schedule 1 to the Arbitration Act. These include, for example:
- Rights of parties to stay legal proceedings in respect of a matter referred to arbitration (sections 9 to 11, Arbitration Act).
- Power of the court to extend time limits to begin an arbitral proceeding or other dispute resolution procedures which must be exhausted before arbitration commences (section 12, Arbitration Act).
- Power of the court to remove an arbitrator (section 24, Arbitration Act).
- Immunity of an arbitrator (section 29, Arbitration Act).
- Rights to challenge/appeal awards on the grounds of lack of substantive jurisdiction (section 67, Arbitration Act) or serious irregularity (section 68, Arbitration Act)
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