Kate Ritchie: We're joined by Doug Jones
who is the national head of the Projects Group at Clayton Utz. He
is also the 2011 global president of the Chartered Institute of
Arbitrators. Doug, thank you for joining us today on Boardroom
Last year we saw reform to Australia's arbitration laws both
at the international level and also for domestic arbitration with
all the States agreeing that they would enact model laws covering
domestic arbitration. What's the current state of reform in
Doug Jones: The only State in which the
arbitration reform has been finally enacted is New South Wales but
Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania are all in an advanced stage
of passing the uniform legislation. Hopefully Queensland, Western
Australia and the other States and Territories will shortly
Kate Ritchie: Does this uneven rollout have
implications for business, and what can businesses do to deal with
Doug Jones: I think care needs to be taken by
business when deciding where it is going to arbitrate because at
the moment, and until the uniform law is enacted in each of the
States, there is a different legislative regime in some States to
others. That can make a very significant difference to how an
arbitration will be conducted. So I think business needs to be
careful about choosing where it is arbitrating domestically in
The other thing that I think business can do is encourage
government to get on with the uniform laws because it's
unsatisfactory to have such a protracted rollout of a critical part
of alternative dispute resolution legislation in the country.
Kate Ritchie: Finally, if we look at commercial
arbitration, is it becoming an attractive alternative for domestic
business who are looking to resolve their commercial disputes, or
is there still a way to go? Is it going to be dependent on the
rollout of the reform?
Doug Jones: The reforms are the first step in a
process of reforming the practice of domestic arbitration in
Australia. It has suffered in recent years from being too slow and
too expensive and too close to the procedures adopted in the
It's meant to be an alternative to court procedure and what
the new uniform legislation does is enable arbitrators to ensure
that the processes adopted in arbitration are different to court
proceedings and offer an expeditious, fair and economical
alternative for business.
That is a work in progress but hopefully will proceed with a
fair amount of alacrity because there is a need for alternative
processes to the court processes for business for a variety of
reasons not least of which is confidentiality.
Kate Ritchie: Certainly, hopefully we do see
commercial arbitration become a true alternative. Doug thank you
for your insights today. Listeners if you have any questions for
Doug send them through to
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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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