A Commentary on the 1996 United Kingdom Arbitration Act - Chapter 8 - Carbonneau on International Arbitration: Collected Essays
Originally from Carbonneau on International Arbitration: Collected Essays
The 1996 United Kingdom Arbitration Act1 is a remarkable piece of legislation. It is a highly accessible statutory framework both from a linguistic and organizational standpoint. The 1996 Act represents a substantial improvement over prior English arbitration statutes, including the 1979 Act.2 The new legislation is comprehensive, thorough, cogent and coherent. In its presentation and content, it easily rivals both longstanding and recent legislative enactments on arbitration. It is built upon a wealth of knowledge and expertise of arbitration law and practice, and embodies a very contemporary and integrated concept of arbitration.
The content of the 1996 Act intermediates effectively between legal regulatory principles and the practical realities of the arbitral process. The statutory provisions read as a hybrid of standard legislative enactments and institutional rules on arbitration. The fundamental precepts of the “world law” on arbitration—party autonomy, the validity of arbitration agreements, judicial assistance and cooperation, limited scrutiny of awards, the requirement of basic procedural fairness, and the need for finality and arbitral autonomy—are everywhere present in the statutory provisions. These principles are not new to English arbitration law, but the clarity of the codification and the cohesion of expression in the 1996 Act give them new vitality and a stronger presence.