On 3 January 2017, the Supreme Court of Western
Australia introduced the Supreme Court (Arbitration) Rules
2016 (WA) (Arbitration Rules).1
The Arbitration Rules outline procedures and contain the forms
relevant to the commencement of actions in the Supreme Court that
relate to domestic and international arbitration.
WHY ARE THE ARBITRATION RULES IMPORTANT?
The Arbitration Rules are important for three reasons.
Firstly, they simplify and clarify the process of initiating
court actions relating to international and domestic arbitration in
Secondly, they promote consistency across other Australian
jurisdictions in relation to arbitration.
Thirdly, they demonstrate the willingness of the courts in
Western Australia to embrace arbitration as a method of dispute
WHAT DO THE ARBITRATION RULES COVER?
The International Arbitration Act 1974 (Cth)
(IAA) and Commercial Arbitration Act 2012
(WA) (CAA) grant the Supreme Court jurisdiction to
enforce and support international and domestic arbitration
The Arbitration Rules outline the procedures that parties need
to follow when making applications to the Western Australian
Supreme Court under the IAA and CAA for:
staying proceedings or referring proceedings to
setting aside and enforcing arbitral awards;
subpoenaing witnesses or evidence;
disclosure of confidential information;
interim measures, including injunctions;
enforcement of procedural orders; and
the appointment of arbitrators and jurisdiction of
The Arbitration Rules operate in conjunction with the Rules
of the Supreme Court 1971 (WA) and prescribe the specific
requirements for various applications and the specific forms to be
used in making applications under the IAA and CAA. By centralising
the risks relevant to arbitrations, the legislature has sought to
assist practitioners and parties to arbitration.
CONSISTENCY ACROSS OTHER JURISDICTIONS
In November 2009, the Australian government announced an
overhaul of the domestic arbitration regime proposing uniform
arbitration legislation. Subsequently, each state and territory
enacted uniform legislation to give its Supreme Court jurisdiction
to enforce domestic arbitration in each state and across
Nearly all states and territories in Australia have already
introduced specific and detailed procedural rules for actions
relating to domestic and international arbitration.2
With Western Australia now having introduced its own procedural
rules, the trend of uniformity and commitment to arbitration across
SUPPORT FOR ARBITRATION AS A METHOD OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION
The Supreme Court of Victoria has declared its support for and
assistance to disputants wanting to resolve all or part of their
dispute by arbitration.3
While the Supreme Court of Western Australia has not publicly
declared its support, it has adopted and mirrored the arbitration
procedural rules in place in Victoria. In addition, there have been
a spate of recent Supreme Court decisions4 granting stay
applications and upholding parties' arbitration agreements.
The introduction of the Arbitration Rules is a clear sign of the
Western Australian courts' commitment to international and
domestic arbitration and should give practitioners and their
clients confidence in the courts' ability to deal with
1 Part 1 (Preliminary matters) came into
effect on 20 December 2016 and the substantive provisions of the
Arbitration Rules came into effect on 3 January 2017.
3 Practice Note 8 of 2014, Commercial
Arbitration Business (Vic).
4Samsung C&T Corporation v Duro
Felguera Australia Pty Ltd  WASC 193; Australian
Maritime Systems Ltd v McConnell Dowell Constructors (Aust) Pty
Ltd  WASC 52; KNM Process Systems SDN BHD v Mission
Newenergy Ltd (formerly known as Mission Biofuels Ltd) 
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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