Public Consultation on Proposed Amendments to the International Arbitration Act ("IAA")
1. The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) launched a public consultation today to seek views on proposals to amend the International Arbitration Act. The consultation period is from 26 June to 21 August 2019.
2. Arbitration is a popular means of resolving commercial disputes. One of the reasons for its popularity is that it allows parties to have the autonomy to choose how their disputes should be resolved. The Ministry keeps track of developments in international best practices, to ensure that our framework stays responsive to users’ evolving needs.
3. The proposed reforms take into account the experience of other jurisdictions and seek to enhance the current framework with a view to providing parties with a greater suite of options to tailor an international arbitration agreement to suit their unique purposes. The contemplated changes include amendments to the IAA to:
(i) provide for the default appointment of arbitrators in multi-party situations;
(ii) allow parties to by mutual agreement, request the arbitrator(s) to decide on jurisdiction at the preliminary award stage;
(iii) provide an arbitral tribunal and the Courts with powers to support the enforcement obligations of confidentiality in an arbitration; and
(iv) allow a party to arbitral proceedings to appeal to the High Court on a question of law arising out of an award made in the proceedings, provided parties have agreed to opt in to this mechanism.
4. MinLaw also seeks views on two other proposals:
(i) whether parties should have the option to limit or waive by agreement, the annulment grounds set forth in Section 24(b) of the IAA and Article 34(2)(a), but not to the annulment grounds in section 24(a) and Article 34(2)(b); and
(ii) whether legislative amendments should be introduced to empower the court to make an order providing for costs of the arbitration following a successful application under section 24 of the IAA or article 34(2) of the Model Law to set aside an award, whether wholly or in part.
Invitation for feedback
5. Interested members of the public are invited to view the public consultation paper here. Please note that the draft amendments set out in the paper have been framed with a view to giving form to the provisions currently contemplated, and will be subject to further changes following the consultation process.
6. All feedback should be titled “Consultation on IAA Amendments” and submitted by 21 August 2019 via post or email to:
Legal Industry Division
Ministry of Law
100 High Street
#08-02 The Treasury
Fax: 6332 8842
MINISTRY OF LAW
26 JUNE 2019