ADR APPG session on Law Commission consultation on Arbitration Act 1996

People attending a session on Law Commission Consultation

The review of the Arbitration Act 1996 was the focus for the Alternative Dispute Resolution All-Party Parliamentary Group for (ADR APPG) at its session on Tuesday 15 November 2022. Ciarb acts as Secretariat to the APPG ADR and following a call to members, this most recent session was very well attended. 

The UK Government has asked the Law Commission to review the Arbitration Act 1996 to determine whether any amendments are needed to ensure that it is fit for purpose, and in so doing, further promote the UK as a leading destination for commercial arbitrations. The consultation paper itself contains provisional law reform proposals to ensure that the Arbitration Act 1996 remains state of the art. With the consultation response period currently open and ending exactly one month to the day from the APPG session, it was an opportune session with riveting speakers. 

John Howell OBE MP, the Chair of the APPG, opened the session. Professor Sarah Green, Law Commissioner for Commercial and Common Law opened the panellist section of the event with a 10-minute talk on why this consultation is so timely and important for the arbitration sector. This was swiftly followed by points of view from Lord Mance and Sir Bernard Eder. Last on the panel was Toby Landau KC, one of the key drafters of the 1996 Arbitration Act legislation, who joined the session online from Singapore. The panellists gave a variety of viewpoints, at times agreeing and strongly disagreeing on various points, which highlights the paramount importance of the Law Commission’s consultation and the work that will follow. 

A Q&A session followed, expertly moderated by Jonathan Wood FCIArb. Several members of the audience shared their views on what had been discussed by the panel and raised several other important points, giving the Law Commission additional perspectives for consideration. Those who contributed from the audience included: Audley Sheppard KC, Professor Emilia Onyema PhD FCIArb, Edward Album, M.A. Oxon FCIArb, David Steward, Graham Chase FRICS C.Arb FCIArb FRSA, Andrew Miller KC FCIArb, Nasir Khan MBE FCIArb FCIPS FCInstCES PE, Dr Manuel Penades, James Clanchy FCIArb and Rebecca Warder. 

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All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are informal cross-party groups that have no official status within Parliament. They are run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords, though many choose to involve individuals and organisations from outside Parliament in their administration and activities. The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Ciarb) act as the Secretariat to the ADR APPG.