The UK government introduced the Arbitration Bill into UK Parliament on 21 November 2023, and it has already had its first reading. The bill incorporates all of the Law Commission's recommendations for reform of the English Arbitration Act 1996 (see our October 2023 blog post summarising the main recommendations).

As stated in the bill's factsheet:

'The Arbitration Bill will modernise the law on arbitration in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland by updating the Arbitration Act 1996.

The Bill will clarify the law governing arbitration agreements, strengthen the courts' supporting powers, and facilitate quicker dispute resolution.
England, Wales, and Northern Ireland's arbitration sector is world-leading in its facilitation of domestic and international legal disputes. The Law Commission of England and Wales estimate[s] there are at least 5,000 domestic and international arbitrations each year in England and Wales, worth £2.5 billion to the economy in fees alone.

It is vital to ensure our arbitration framework is up to date, to be able to respond to competition from abroad and maintain our competitive edge'.

At this pace, it is likely that the bill will be adopted before the 2024 elections. Cooley will monitor this space closely and keep readers updated with any news on the bill's progression.

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