Page 246 - Week 01 - Thursday, 15 December 2016

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example, to preserve assets and evidence while a matter is decided by the tribunal. Parties to an arbitration must be treated with equality and each must be given a reasonable opportunity to present their case. The parties are free to agree on the procedure to be followed by the tribunal, or if there is no agreement, the tribunal must conduct the arbitration as it considers appropriate.

The bill includes provisions intended to reduce delay and expense. They include a requirement on parties, without undue delay, to comply with any order or direction and take any necessary steps to obtain a decision of the court where necessary. A party must not wilfully delay or prevent an award from being made. The tribunal may also choose to conduct a “stop-clock” arbitration where time is allocated to each party and strictly enforced to assist in reducing time and cost. This can assist the tribunal to conduct the proceedings in a way that is appropriate to the amount of money involved and the complexity of the issues involved.

Arbitrations are confidential unless the parties have agreed to disclosure, or disclosure is otherwise permitted in the bill or by a court order. The bill recognises that confidentiality is a key feature of the arbitration process, as it protects commercial interests and potential reputational harm. An appeal against an arbitral award may only be made with all parties’ consent and with the court’s leave.

Applications to set aside awards are restricted to specific grounds, including incapacity, invalidity, breaches of procedural fairness, the arbitral tribunal’s composition not being in accordance with the agreement or public policy. An arbitral award is binding and enforceable as a court award and there are limited grounds for refusing recognition or enforcement of an award.

The Commercial Arbitration Bill 2016 will align the ACT’s domestic arbitration law with the rest of the country. It reflects international best practice for a modern commercial arbitration regulation. It is part of the way that the government is getting down to business, building a best practice court service framework. I commend this bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hanson) adjourned to the next sitting.

Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 (No 3)

Mr Ramsay, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for the Arts and Community Events and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (11.58): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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