On 3 August 2010, the Australian International Disputes Centre
(AIDC) opened in Sydney. Its opening is a
milestone achievement and an important step in Australia's
growing reputation as a destination for the resolution of disputes
through arbitration. In particular, it provides corporations with a
viable alternative to the arbitration centres in Hong Kong and
Singapore for the resolution of international disputes. The centre
is located in the heart of the legal and financial services
district in Sydney.
The AIDC features world-class communication, audiovisual and
video-conferencing facilities, tribunal facilities, conference
rooms and access to translation and transcription services. It is
home to the Australian Centre for International Commercial
Arbitration, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the
Australia Commercial Disputes Centre. From its opening day, it has
hosted a number of international arbitrations. Its opening was
attended by the Honourable Chief Justice Patrick Keane, the Chief
Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, and the Honourable Chief
Justice James Spigelman AC, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
of New South Wales.
Parties to an arbitration agreement have considerable choice
over the way a dispute can are arbitrated. They can choose the
country, city and even building in which they wish to hold their
arbitration. They are also free to select the arbitrator. It is
expected that, following the AIDC's opening, Sydney will
increasingly be a nominated venue for the arbitration of
The opening of the centre coincides with ongoing reforms to
Australia's arbitration laws at both a State and Federal level.
International arbitrations in Australia are governed by the
International Arbitration Act 1974(Cth) which is based on,
and gives parties the option to use, the UNCITRAL Model Law on
International Commercial Arbitration. There have been recent
amendments to the International Arbitration Act to bring it up to
date with 2006 amendments to the Model Law. Those amendments:
confer on arbitrators the power to order security for
enhance the recognition of arbitration agreements concluded in
almost any form (including those reached orally and
confer on arbitrators the power to order that property be
inspected and experiments be conducted by experts and the
enhance the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Federal
At a state level, the NSW Parliament on 22 June 2010 passed
the Commercial Arbitration Act 2010 (NSW), which governs
domestic arbitrations in NSW and is consistent with the
Commonwealth legislation so that Australia has uniform laws
applying to both domestic and international arbitrations. It is up
to the parties to decide whether the arbitration will be governed
by the Model Law or by a different set of arbitration rules.
Increasingly, parties are submitting disputes arising out of
international contracts to arbitration. While this is true across
the board, it is a particularly marked trend in the construction,
transport, energy and financial sectors. Particular industries,
such as oil and gas, shipping and insurance use international
arbitration as a default dispute resolution mechanism. The
enforceability of arbitral awards and the flexibility, speed and
reduced cost of the procedure (as opposed to international
litigation) are seen as the major advantages of international
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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This was an interlocutory decision about the appointment of a tutor for the child appellant, to carry on his proceedings.
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