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International Arbitration in Australia: What US Business Needs to Know

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NEW YORK, Oct. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — For multinational companies and global industry groups, international dispute resolution in cross border deals is an integral part of good business practice.

The global financial crisis has seen an increase of commercial disputes and because international investors want to avoid the uncertainty of litigation in a foreign court system, international arbitration in a venue neutral to both parties has become the preferred dispute resolution mechanism.

With stable and supportive economic, political and legal systems and a new world class international dispute resolution facility in Sydney (www.disputescentre.com.au) Australia is well placed to meet the growing demand for first-rate, cost-effective arbitration services in the Asia Pacific.

On 2 March, the Australian Government appointed the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA) as the sole default appointing authority under the new International Arbitration Act.

A major foundation partner of the Australian International Disputes Centre, and a signatory to co-operation agreements with over 50 global arbitral bodies including the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, ACICA will address a gathering of international corporate counsel, government policy advisors, legal commercial directors, lawyers acting for international trading corporations and financial and investment advisors. Website: www.acica.org.au

When:

Monday, 10 October 6 pm – 8.30 pm

Where:

* Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
Four Times Square, 37th Floor, New York (Corner of 42nd Street and Broadway)

Moderator:

Timothy G Nelson
Partner, Skadden New York

Speakers:

Professor Doug Jones AM
ACICA President and Head of the International Arbitration and Major Projects Groups of Clayton Utz

Mr . Alex Baykitch
ACICA Vice President and Partner of Holman Fenwick Willan

The Hon Lindsay Foster
Judge of the Federal Court of Australia

*The New York office of Skadden, Arps is the largest office and headquarters of our broad-based international practice. Our clients are a substantial and diverse group, which includes nearly one-half of the Fortune 500 companies. For the 11th consecutive year, Skadden was named the best corporate law firm in the United States in Corporate Board Member magazine’s survey of “America’s Best Corporate Law Firms.”

BACKGROUND

What is international arbitration?

International Arbitration is a system of dispute resolution selected by many of the world’s leading international companies. Most importantly arbitration agreements and arbitral awards are enforceable worldwide under an international law known as the New York Convention. By inserting an arbitration clause into their agreements with trading partners, parties opt to have disputes arising out of or in connection with the contract decided by private tribunals (‘arbitral tribunals’) rather than litigating them in national courts. Arbitration is particularly common in the insurance, construction and engineering, oil, gas and shipping industries and increasingly so, in banking and financial services.

In 2008 a PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Survey, ‘ International Arbitration: Corporate A ttitudes and P ractices’, revealed consumers of arbitration services favoured international arbitration because it was a means to successfully preserve business relationships.

About the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA)

The Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA) is Australia ‘ s only international arbitral institution. Established in 1985 as a not-for-profit public company, its membership includes world leading practitioners and academics expert in the field of international and domestic commercial arbitration. ACICA aims to educate, promote and encourage the use of international commercial arbitration as a means of dispute resolution, and to promote Australia as an international seat of arbitration.

About the ACICA Arbitration Rules incorporating the Emergency Arbitrator Provisions and Appointment

The ACICA Arbitration Rules have been updated to include Emergency Arbitrator Provisions — a first for an Australian arbitral body.

Designed to speed up the resolution of cross border and international commercial disputes, this innovation provides parties with greater flexibility including an option to seek emergency interim measures of protection from an emergency arbitrator before the arbitral tribunal is constituted.

Damian Lovell, Vice President of Litigation of BHP Billiton, who is responsible for the dispute resolution strategy for the world’s largest diversified mining company, said it is standard practice for BHP Billiton to include arbitration clauses in its cross border contracts:

“We see international arbitration as an integral part of our global dispute resolution strategy. We commend ACICA’s initiative in producing these rules which is consistent with this strategy.”

ACICA has also developed the Appointment of Arbitrators Rules 2011 which establish a streamlined process through which a party can apply to have an arbitrator appointed to a dispute seated in Australia. A board comprising representatives of the Attorney-General of Australia, the Chief Justices of the High Court and Federal Court, the President of the Australian Bar Association, the President of the Law Council of Australia and industry representatives will oversee the appointment process.

What are the reforms to arbitration laws in Australia?

On June 17 2010 the Commonwealth Parliament of Australia amended the International Arbitration Act 1974 to increase the effectiveness, efficiency and affordability of international commercial arbitration.

On 22 June 2010 the NSW Parliament passed the Commercial Arbitration Act 2010, which amends NSW law applying to domestic arbitrations to harmonize it with the law applying to international arbitration.

The NSW law is based on model law agreed to by all jurisdictions, and will ensure Australia has uniform laws applying to all domestic and international arbitrations.

These reforms provide the framework for internationally experienced Australian arbitrators to resolve local, cross-border and international disputes on Australian territory.

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