International arbitration has won a powerful ally this week with the vice-president of litigation at BHP Billiton welcoming the introduction of the new ACICA Arbitration Rules.
Damian Lovell yesterday (30 August) threw his support behind the rules, which were launched on 1 August this year and are designed to make the resolution of cross-border and international commercial disputes more efficient.
Lovell is responsible for the dispute resolution strategy for the mining company, and 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," he said. "We commend ACICA's initiative in producing these rules which is consistent with this strategy."
In welcoming the endorsement by BHP Billiton, which announced last week a record Australian company profit of $22.5 billion for the last financial year, ACICA president and Clayton Utz head of major projects and international arbitration, Professor Doug Jones, said servicing cross-border dispute resolution is a global, billion dollar business and Australia is an attractive destination in which to resolve global business disputes.
"Australia is well placed to meet the growing demand for first-rate, cost-effective arbitration services, especially in the Asia Pacific region," he said.
Following the Australian Government's decision to appoint ACICA as the sole default appointing authority under the amended International Arbitration Act (1974), the ACICA Arbitration Rules have been updated after extensive consultation with practitioners, policymakers, academics and business leaders.
A major partner of the Australian International Disputes Centre and a signatory to agreements with over 50 global arbitral bodies, including the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, ACICA has also developed the Appointment of Arbitrators Rules 2011. This has ushered in a streamlined process whereby a party can apply to have an arbitrator appointed to a dispute in Australia.
ACICA will promote the new arbitration rules with a series of presentations next month to be held in global financial centres, including Zurich, New York and Shanghai.
In May, Attorney-General Robert McClelland launched the book Commercial Arbitration in Australia by Doug Jones, which provides a comprehensive list of the history and development of commercial arbitration laws in Australia.