Monday, December 30, 2013

New Arbitration Act Approved by the House of Assembly

The British Virgin Islands House of Assembly had the final reading of the new Arbitration Act 2013, which was part of the work produced by the Arbitration Focus Group – a committee comprised of public and private sector representatives. In modernising BVI arbitration framework, the Arbitration Focus Group focused on updating the Territory’s arbitration legislation, as well as procuring the extension of the New York Convention to the BVI, and creating an administrative body to facilitate arbitration in the jurisdiction

The new Act incorporates the UNCITRAL model law on arbitration, as amended in July 2006, into the British Virgin Islands domestic law. Also, the new legislation modernizes the provisions for the enforcement of foreign arbitration awards in the BVI, and provides for the creation of a new statutory body: the BVI International Arbitration Centre. It includes changes providing arbitration awards to be exempt from local stamp duty and from any charges under the Income Tax Act or the Payroll Taxes Act. 

The new Arbitration Act also grants various additional powers to the British Virgin Islands courts to support and assist the conduct of arbitration proceedings.

The previous arbitration legislation in the jurisdiction was the Arbitration Act - a synthesis of the English Arbitration Acts of 1950 and 1975, regarded as unsuitable for modern cross-border arbitration.

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