CHAPTER 13 - England & Wales - Interim Measures in International Arbitration
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Originally from: Interim Measures in International Arbitration
The principal source of arbitration law in England & Wales is the
Arbitration Act 1996 (the “Arbitration Act”), which is based in part on
the UNCITRAL Model Law of 1985.1 Prior to the enactment of the
Arbitration Act, the English legal framework for arbitration was spread
across several statutes and a large body of case law. The Arbitration Act
consolidated this existing legislation and codified rules established by
case law to present a clear statement of the principles of English
arbitration law. In addition, the Arbitration Act harmonised English law
with internationally recognised principles, thereby making arbitration in
England & Wales more attractive to domestic and international users.
The Arbitration Act limits judicial intervention in arbitration by
only allowing the courts to provide assistance where it is needed to
ensure that the arbitral process is both fair and efficient. Under the
Arbitration Act, courts in England & Wales are empowered to issue
provisional remedies with respect to arbitral proceedings subject to strict
limitations and this reflects the English courts’ purely supportive
function. Furthermore, the courts will approach any application for
provisional relief with regard to Section 1(c) of the Arbitration Act
which states that “in matters governed by this Part the court should not
intervene except as provided by this Part.” This similarly ensures that
the courts respect the autonomy of arbitral proceedings.
The court’s approach to the application of interim measures since
the Arbitration Act came into force, has not been without controversy.
However, in general, the courts have respected the autonomy of arbitral
proceedings where appropriate, whilst recognizing the important role
they play in supporting the arbitral process, particularly, in the
preliminary stages of proceedings, before the arbitral tribunal is
constituted and, therefore, able to act.