Determination

The distinction between foreign and domestic arbitrations – this has been abolished.  Section 46 provides a fresh and healthily commercial innovation. In previous Arbitration Acts it was required of arbitrators that they come to their decision on the basis of and within the framework of the law of the contract (i.e. English law in the case of London arbitration). The 1996 Act, s. 46 (b) allows that, however, arbitrators may reach their decision in accordance with such other considerations as are agreed by them (the parties) or determined by the tribunal. Hill (5th ed.) suggests that this must be intended to mean that if justice is truly to be served in the determining of the dispute, and strict adherence to the letter of the law fails to produce such just results, commercial considerations may be taken as a basis for determination, thus overshadowing the law. This, in Hill’s view, is one of the most enlightened innovations of the entire Statute, and emphasises the – fast being forgotten – basic principle that arbitration is fundamentally a commercial service and not a legal service. Various Acts of Parliament provide for the settlement of disputes arising out of their provisions by arbitration. These Acts usually describe how the arbitration is to be conducted; but in all other cases the Arbitration Acts 1950 – 1979 apply. It can be seen, therefore, that the statutory regulation of the law relating to arbitration is contained in the Arbitration Acts 1950, 1975 and 1979. The Arbitration Act 1950 is the principal Act. (References in this Lesson are to the 1950 Act unless the contrary is expressed). The 1950 Act also gives effect to two international measures. The object of the Arbitration Act 1975 is to give effect to the New York Convention in the United Kingdom.