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Proposed arbitration law reform welcomed


Monday, December 9, 2013, 9.00am


Proposed arbitration law reform welcomed

WELLINGTON, Dec 9, 2013—The Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ) has welcomed the introduction of a parliamentary bill aimed at improving the resolution of disputes.

The Judicature Modernisation Bill, which was introduced last week by Justice Minister Judith Collins, seeks to reform important aspects of the existing Arbitration Act of 1908.

It would also “significantly enhance New Zealand’s bona fides as a seat of international commercial arbitration,” AMINZ executive director Deborah Hart says.

The bill proposes several important changes to the law relating to New Zealand's courts and judicial processes, including a new empowering clause that enables a competent professional body to act as an appointment body in cases where parties fail to reach agreement in arbitration proceedings.

“This is important because it means that appointment issues in areas such as construction or the energy sector will be dealt with by a body that actually specialises in arbitration and has extensive knowledge about which arbitrators are best suited for what dispute,” Ms Hart says.

“Not only does this mechanism provide a faster method of appointment than the existing statutory mechanism involving the High Court, it means agencies such as AMINZ, by dint of our daily involvement in the world of arbitration, will help achieve better results for the wider community. “The bill also introduces emergency arbitrator provisions—allowing confidential relief to be offered early on in cases before a tribunal has been formed—that will bring New Zealand into line with arbitration centres such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.

“That’s only going to enhance the country’s growing international reputation in this area.”


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