The Arbitration Act 2010 (the “2010 Act”), which adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law (the “Model Law”) in to Irish Law, came into force in Ireland on 8 June 2010, repealing the legislation which previously governed arbitration in Ireland, namely the Arbitration Act 1954, the Arbitration Act 1980 and the Arbitration (International Commercial) Act 1998. Prior to the introduction of the 2010 Act, Ireland had two different arbitration regimes. Domestic arbitrations were governed for the most part by the Arbitration Act 1954, with small elements drawn from both the Arbitration Act 1980 and the Arbitration (International Commercial) Act 1998. The latter Act also governed arbitration which was both international and commercial in character. Consequently, when viewed from an international perspective, arbitration in Ireland could be perceived as being quite fractured, in that separate regimes existed for domestic and international arbitrations.
One of the principal objectives behind the new legislation was to provide a uniform regime for arbitrations in Ireland, whether domestic or international in nature, which would have the effect of promoting Ireland as a modern venue for international arbitration. The new legislation also recognised that the primary legislation governing domestic arbitrations in Ireland was over 50 years old and required some significant modernisation. After a number of years in the melting pot, and following prolonged debate, the 2010 Act was finally enacted by the Oireachtas earlier this year.
Rather than set out to examine the 2010 Act on a section by section basis, or look at specific issues, we believe it is more effective for us to consider and answer various questions which clients may have in respect of the implications and effects of the new legislation, particularly by reference to headline themes.