We have identified some areas of law that our experience and discussion with stakeholders suggest may require reform. They could be potential projects for our 13th Programme of law reform. We would like to hear your views on these, and whether you think they should form part of our work in the next few years.

Arbitration

The UK is a centre for international dispute resolution. Could change to arbitration law help preserve this position?

The Arbitration Act 1996 creates the framework for arbitrations conducted under English procedural law. It has been praised for helping to make the UK a top destination for commercial arbitrations. However, it is important that English law keeps up-to-date, to compete with other jurisdictions.

We are interested to hear whether changes to the Act would make arbitrations less costly or lengthy. We think that even relatively small changes could make a difference. For example, recent research from Queen Mary University of London suggests that tribunals are reluctant to use streamlined procedures to resolve matters quickly. Making explicit provision for summary judgment might encourage arbitrators to take a bolder approach in the interests of efficient case management.

Another possible change would be to allow for the arbitration of trust disputes. While some trust disputes may be suitable for arbitration, it seems that at present those who create trusts cannot require trustees and beneficiaries to use arbitration, rather than litigation, to resolve their differences. Furthermore, although two or more people of full capacity can enter into a valid stand-alone arbitration agreement to settle a trust dispute, any award will not bind other interested parties. Developing the law in this area has the potential to offer a range of benefits to all those who set up, benefit from, administer and advise on trusts. Work in this area has in the past been proposed by the Trust Law Committee and has been supported by Government, but the issue has not been considered a priority as a stand-alone project.

What do you think?

Are there any areas of arbitration law which we should (or should not) be considering for inclusion in our 13th Programme of law reform? PleaseĀ use this form to send us your comments on this potential project, and email it to programme@lawcommission.gsi.gov.uk.

 

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