Answer ... The Arbitration Act 1996 applies to domestic and international arbitrations seated in England and Wales. Common law rules may also place obligations on parties and arbitrators - for example, in relation to confidentiality.
The Arbitration Act applies only where the arbitration agreement is in writing (including an agreement made in writing (whether signed or unsigned), an agreement made by the exchange of communications in writing or an agreement evidenced in writing) (Section 5). While oral arbitration agreements therefore fall outside the scope of the act, they may still be recognised and enforced at common law (Section 81(1)(b)).
Answer ... In practice, the Arbitration Act draws no distinction between domestic and international arbitration. While the act does include provisions related exclusively to domestic arbitration agreements (Sections 85 to 87), these have never been brought into force and we have seen no indication that this is set to change.
Answer ... The United Kingdom has not adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law, but the Arbitration Act incorporates many of its principles.
Answer ... Mandatory provisions under the Arbitration Act apply notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary (Section 4(1)). These are listed in Schedule 1. Among the most significant mandatory provisions are those concerning the tribunal’s duty to act fairly and impartially (Section 33) and the Sections 67 and 68 grounds for challenging an arbitral award.
Answer ... Not at present. In December 2017, the Law Commission identified arbitration (in particular, summary judgment procedures in arbitration and trust law arbitration) as a subject area which is not currently being taken forward as part of the existing law reform programme, but which may be considered in the future.
Answer ... The United Kingdom, including England and Wales, is a signatory to the New York Convention, which is enacted into domestic legislation by Sections 100 to 104 of the Arbitration Act.
This is subject to the ‘reciprocity reservation’, meaning that the United Kingdom’s obligations under the New York Convention apply only to the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards made in the territory of another contracting state. The United Kingdom has also extended the territorial application of the convention to certain of its overseas territories and dependencies.
Answer ... England and Wales, as part of the United Kingdom, is also a party to:
- the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes Convention;
- the Energy Charter Treaty;
- the Geneva Convention on the Execution of Foreign Arbitral Awards;
- numerous bilateral investment treaties; and
- the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration.