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Arbitration for the 21st Century - a practical guide

NZ $50.00
This book is only available in PDF format
Author(s): David Williams KC, Fred Thorp
Published: 18 September, 2001
Pages: 290



The law of arbitration in New Zealand took a great leap forward with the passing of the Arbitration Act 1996 (‘the Act’). The Act has paved the way for the parties to have greater freedom to set their own rules, while limiting significantly the scope of the courts to interfere with the arbitration process or any award handed down by an arbitral tribunal.

The Act has two main attractions. First, it has introduced a complete code on arbitration to replace the incomplete and antiquated system of arbitration statutes which New Zealand had inherited from England and which had necessarily required considerable supplementation by the common law. Secondly, in so doing, it has adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (“Model Law”).

The way in which New Zealand has adopted the Model Law as a unitary statute covering both domestic and international arbitration has been widely admired overseas. Several Pacific Rim countries including Singapore and Hong Kong, which already have the Model Law for international arbitrations ,are now seeking to modify their laws to introduce a New Zealand style unitary system. The selection of the Model Law for New Zealand opens up a rich body of jurisprudence and academic commentary from the numerous (approximately 30) other jurisdictions which have either adopted the Model Law directly or taken it into account when modernising their laws. Practitioners need to be aware of this "internationalisation" of New Zealand arbitration law, a process which is also well under way in the United Kingdom as their 1996 Act is substantially influenced by the Model Law.

In the remainder of this introduction we summarise, for the sake of completeness, certain basic features of arbitration, the Model Law, and the Act. Although much of that summary will be familiar to most readers, it does provide a base for the later sections in which we review how the Act has worked in practice and how practitioners might better utilise its provisions to the advantage of their clients.


Content outline

  • The impact of the Arbitration Act - an overview of how the act has worked to date
  • Sections in the act which require reconsideration
  • An examination of important articles in the first schedule
  • The second schedule - additional optional rules applying to arbitration
  • Legal issues in need of reconsideration - the law commission 2001 discussion paper
  • International commercial arbitration
  • Practical matters
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