Commercial Arbitration in Australia: Australian Capital Territory joins uniform framework

Since 2010, all Australian States and Territories have adopted and enacted versions of the Model law creating a uniform framework for domestic arbitration in Australia; the Australian Capital Territory is the most recent, with its legislation commencing on 1 July 2017.

The laws harmonise the procedures for resolution of such disputes with those applicable to the resolution of international commercial disputes under the International Arbitration Act 1974 passed by the Commonwealth parliament.

The Acts facilitate the use of arbitration agreements to manage domestic commercial disputes by adopting the provisions of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, taking into account the Commonwealth Act, and with appropriate modifications for domestic commercial arbitration.

The Acts also contain a number of additional provisions supporting the arbitration process and some optional provisions which may be used by the parties to an arbitration agreement should a dispute arise between them. These include provisions relating to assistance from the Supreme Court of a particular State or Territory (or another court nominated by the parties), the consolidation of arbitral proceedings, the disclosure of confidential information and the awarding of interest and costs. The Acts also provide for the issue of subpoenas, and the recognition and enforcement of awards with respect to domestic commercial arbitrations.