find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (1-3 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Sydney NSW 2000
· Join a dynamic Firm · Excellent career growth opportunity
View details
In-house lawyer 1-4 PAE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Leading Brand · Report to a Dynamic Legal Counsel
View details
Arbitration moves into the fast lane

Arbitration moves into the fast lane

FLEXIBILITY, speed and cost savings are some of the major advantages of the Fast Track Arbitration rules launched by the Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia (IAMA) on…

FLEXIBILITY, speed and cost savings are some of the major advantages of the Fast Track Arbitration rules launched by the Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia (IAMA) on Monday.

Although the new Fast Track rules are not compulsory and won’t be suited to all cases, IAMA president Laurie James believes they offer a good platform from which the arbitration process can be improved. Under these rules a 150-day limit is suggested for the entire process with the possibility of 10-day extensions.

“The overriding objective is to conduct the arbitration fairly, expeditiously, cost-effectively and proportionate to the amount of money, the complexity of issues and any other relevant matter,” James told Lawyers Weekly.

The Fast Track system is just one part of the overall reforms which have been made to the arbitration rules. James said he does not expect that every case will warrant the use of fast-tracking — matters which are too large or complex may be better suited to a more orthodox system — but the important point is that it is there to be used if required.

“This idea of lining up the whole system to the case we’re running — a ‘horses for courses’ type situation — is the key to all of our rules, not just the Fast Track,” he said. “It’s a situation where there is a lot of flexibility to it. I think experienced construction lawyers will say: ‘I can tinker with that. We can treat it like a concertina: we can either stretch it out or tighten it up’.”

Schedule 2 under the new arbitration rules, dealing with fast-tracking, has been designed as a template that can be modified by experienced parties, or relied upon more strictly by inexperienced or unrepresented parties, as they see fit.

“Schedule 2 shouldn’t be taken as tram lines that you have to go along. It is a suggested outline of a way in which you could do it,” James said

“We basically envisage that this could be used in very big arbitrations [such as] massive infrastructure-type cases, where parties are likely to be represented by lawyers with arbitration know-how, who might say ‘we think we could treat this procedure in a different way’ and they are entirely free to do that.”

Importantly though, James stressed that no party would be compelled to enter the Fast Track system if they had not contracted into it.

Another feature of the system is a 20-day limit on the claimant to provide documents including a written statement and evidence to be presented. The rules further stipulate that the arbitrator will be expected to deliver an award within 30 days of the end of the hearing.

There will also be a new approach to the awards given by arbitrators, in that the extent to which they should be expected to provide detailed written reasons must be proportionate to the time available, James said.

“Where for example judges in court write voluminous reasons, it usually takes them many months, and the Fast Track can’t allow for that,” he said.

“The parties [should] acknowledge that in 30 days an arbitrator would probably give a fairly comprehensive award. But if the parties reduce that to 14 days, then obviously they would still have to get an outline, but [not every] detail about what was said in the case.”

James expects, however, that judges will accept a less than comprehensive award if the upside is a faster, cheaper process. “We believe judges will understand that if you are going to compact the timeframe, you can’t expect as much detail in the arbitrators award as you might have done in other cases,” he said.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Arbitration moves into the fast lane
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Scales of Justice, Victorian County Court, retiring judges
Aug 21 2017
Replacements named for retired Vic judges
Two new judicial officers have been appointed in the Victorian County Court, following the retire...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...