The Arbitration Act 2010 - 'A Significant Reform'

Author:Mr Ronan McGoldrick
Profession:Eversheds O'Donnell Sweeney

The Arbitration Act 2010 (the 'Act') came into effect on 8 June last year. It applies to all arbitrations beginning on or after that date. Ronan McGoldrick outlines the Act's key features. The Act replaces the Arbitration Acts 1954 to 1998 and adopts the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration. The UNCITRAL Model Law represents a global consensus on principles to be applied in respect of international arbitration.

While the Act applies to both international and domestic arbitration agreements it will be of particular benefit to parties involved in international arbitration and one of the primary goals of the legislation was to make Ireland a more attractive jurisdiction for parties seeking a location in which to arbitrate their dispute. Some of the more interesting features of the Act are:

Parties to an arbitration dispute are now able to agree a great deal of matters between themselves, including matters relating to procedure and to the powers that can be given to an Arbitrator (or Arbitral Tribunal). Arbitrators have the power to make such awards on costs as they see fit in circumstances where there is no express agreement between the parties on costs. The Act distinguishes between international commercial arbitrations and domestic arbitrations in relation to the issue of costs. While domestic arbitrations can still be referred to the Taxing Master of the High Court on the issue of costs, this does not apply to international commercial arbitrations. Arbitrators now have the power to award interest and security for costs. However, security for costs will not necessarily be granted or denied on the same terms as would apply under civil procedure in the Courts. Arbitrators are also empowered to make an award requiring specific performance (unless otherwise agreed between the parties). However, arbitrators may not make an order for specific performance in relation to 'a contract for the sale of land'. Arbitrators are required to give written reasoned awards unless it is specifically agreed by the parties that...

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