​The Commercial Arbitration Act 2012 (WA) (Act) came into force in Western Australia on 7 August 2013. The new Act replaces the Commercial Arbitration Act 1984 (WA) and adopts the provisions of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, aligning the domestic commercial arbitration regime with that in the International Arbitration Act 2010 (Cth).The Act applies to all domestic commercial arbitrations in Western Australia.

The Act applies to all domestic commercial arbitrations in Western Australia.

The paramount object of the Act is to "facilitate the fair and final resolution of commercial disputes by impartial arbitral tribunals without unnecessary delay or expense" by:

  • enabling parties to agree on how to resolve their dispute; and
  • establishing arbitration procedures that enable commercial disputes to be resolved informally, quickly and in a cost effective manner.

There are several key changes which have been introduced as part of the adoption of the uniform arbitration legislation around Australia including, inter alia:

  • allowing parties to have greater freedom in determining the procedure to apply to their arbitration, providing scope for domestic arbitration to be differentiated from conventional litigation;
  • empowering arbitrators to make interim orders to protect the rights of a party to an arbitration;
  • preventing disclosure of confidential information relating to the arbitral proceedings, unless otherwise agreed by the parties; and
  • limiting the grounds on which an award may be appealed or set aside by the Court.