Fiji - Arbitration Law and Practice in Asia
I. INTRODUCTION: ARBITRATION IN FIJI – HISTORY AND INFRASTRUCTURE
A. History and Current Legislation on Arbitration
Arbitration in Fiji is governed by the Arbitration Act (Cap. 38) (Act). The Act was passed in June 1965. The Act was introduced because it was recognised that there was a need to provide for “relatively simple and up-to-date procedure for the reference of disputes to arbitration without having recourse of courts”.
The Act was based on similar legislation then existing in Sierra Leone and Kenya (which at the time were also British colonies). There however has been no amendment or reform of the Act since its enactment.
Fiji ratified the 1958 Convention on the Recognition of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention) on 27 September 2010. Fiji was the 145th country to rectify the New York Convention. In accordance with the terms of the New York Convention, the convention came into force in Fiji from 26 December 2010. Unfortunately, no amendments to the local legislation have been made to give effect to the provision of the New York Convention.
We are not aware of any case before the Fiji courts seeking recognition under the New York Convention.
There is no requirement for the registration of arbitration awards in Fiji although the award at the request of a party can be filed in the High Court of Fiji.
B. Arbitration Infrastructure and Practice in Fiji
Arbitration as a dispute resolution method in Fiji is not widely used although it has been used in a number of building contracts and disputes. This can be attributed largely to the lack of arbitration infrastructure and skills in Fiji.