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Arbitration in Scotland

Arbitration has long played an important role in settling disputes in Scotland and as a result Scotland has its own highly developed body of arbitration law.

On 7 June 2010, all provisions of the new Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010 came into force. The new Act brings Scotland to the forefront of modern arbitral law and practice. The Act represents the most significant development in the history of the Scots Law on Aribtration and one of the most significant developments in Scots Commercial Law in recent times.

The Scottish courts have always recognised the right of parties to agree to exclude the jurisdiction of the courts to inquire into the merits of their disputes and instead to refer any disputes to arbitration. This fundamental doctrine of Scots arbitration law was never more succinctly or better put than by the eminent judge Lord Dunedin in 1922:

"...the right...to apply or not to apply the arbitration clause in its discretion never was the right of the Court in Scotland. If the parties have contracted to arbitrate, to arbitration they must go."

The Scottish courts though remain free to pronounce a judgement in conformity with the arbitrator's award. Equally, should the arbitration from any cause prove abortive, the full jurisdiction of the court will revive, to the effect of enabling the court to hear and determine the dispute on its merits.

Whilst the new Act provides its own statutory rules, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Scottish Branch) also provides its own Scottish Arbitration Code with terms intended to set out clearly and concisely all of the provisions which would apply to an arbitration, whether domestic or international, in Scotland. The Code does not have the force of law. Instead it will be given effect in each arbitration by the prior consent of the parties to the arbitration. This is entirely in tune with the consensual nature of Scottish arbitration law and can be done either in an arbitration clause or simply prior to the arbitration commencing. One of the benefits of the code is an expedited 6 month process.

Of course this is just a taste of the favourable background to conducting arbitration in Scotland. Why not have a look at The Scottish Arbitration Rules which form Schedule 1 to the Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010 and The Scottish Arbitration Code to see what detailed framework is available to those conducting arbitrations in Scotland.

Arbitrator Selection

If you require the selection of an arbitrator we can assist. Please print off and complete the application form and send it, along with your cheque for GBP250.00 + VAT made payable to The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Scottish Branch) or CIArb (Scottish Branch).

Please note that an application cannot be processed until we are in receipt of the application fee and the fee is not refundable if you subsequently withdraw your application.

The form and payment should be sent to the following address:

Leigh Herd 
Honorary Secretary and Treasurer 
Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Scottish Branch) 
1 Exchange Crescent
Conference Square
Edinburgh
EH3 8UL

T: +44 (0)131 473 5182
F: +44 (0)131 228 1222
E: ciarbs@shepwedd.com