|This Act has "Not in Force" sections. See the Table of Legislative Changes.|
|Part 1 — Application and Interpretation|
|1||Scope of application|
|2||Definitions and interpretation|
|3||Receipt of written communications|
|4||Waiver of right to object|
|5||Extent of judicial intervention|
|6||Construction of Act|
|Part 2 — Arbitration Agreement|
|7||Definition of arbitration agreement|
|8||Stay of legal proceedings|
|9||Interim measures by court|
|Part 3 — Composition of Arbitral Tribunal|
|10||Number of arbitrators|
|11||Appointment of arbitrators|
|12||Grounds for challenge|
|14||Failure or impossibility to act|
|15||Termination of mandate and substitution of arbitrator|
|Part 4 — Jurisdiction of Arbitral Tribunal|
|16||Competence of arbitral tribunal to rule on its jurisdiction|
|17||Interim measures ordered by arbitral tribunal|
|Part 5 — Conduct of Arbitral Proceedings|
|18||Equal treatment of parties|
|19||Determination of rules of procedure|
|20||Place of arbitration|
|21||Commencement of arbitral proceedings|
|23||Statements of claim and defence|
|24||Hearings and written proceedings|
|25||Default of a party|
|26||Expert appointed by arbitral tribunal|
|27||Court assistance in taking evidence and consolidating arbitrations|
|Part 6 — Making of Arbitral Award and Termination of Proceedings|
|28||Rules applicable to substance of dispute|
|29||Decision making by panel of arbitrators|
|31||Form and content of arbitral award|
|32||Termination of proceedings|
|33||Correction and interpretation of award; additional award|
|Part 7 — Recourse Against Arbitral Award|
|34||Application for setting aside arbitral award|
|Part 8 — Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards|
|35||Recognition and enforcement|
|36||Grounds for refusing recognition or enforcement|
|37||Power to make regulations|
WHEREAS British Columbia, and in particular the City of Vancouver, is becoming an international financial and commercial centre;
AND WHEREAS disputes in international commercial agreements are often resolved by means of arbitration;
AND WHEREAS British Columbia has not previously enjoyed a hospitable legal environment for international commercial arbitrations;
AND WHEREAS there are divergent views in the international commercial and legal communities respecting the conduct of, and the degree and nature of judicial intervention in, international commercial arbitrations;
AND WHEREAS the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law has adopted the UNCITRAL Model Arbitration Law which reflects a consensus of views on the conduct of, and degree and nature of judicial intervention in, international commercial arbitrations;
THEREFORE HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, enacts as follows:
(7) If an arbitration agreement respecting an international commercial arbitration contains a reference to the Arbitration Act, that reference is deemed to be a reference to this Act.
(8) This Act does not affect any other law in force in British Columbia by virtue of which certain disputes may not be submitted to arbitration or may be submitted to arbitration only in accordance with provisions other than those of this Act.
"arbitral award" means any decision of the arbitral tribunal on the substance of the dispute submitted to it and includes
"arbitral tribunal" means a sole arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators;
"arbitration" means any arbitration whether or not administered by the B.C. Arbitration Centre or any other permanent arbitral institution;
"B.C. Arbitration Centre" means the British Columbia International Commercial Arbitration Centre located in Vancouver, British Columbia;
"Chief Justice" means the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or his or her designate;
"court" means a body or an organ of the judicial system of a state;
"party" means a party to an arbitration agreement and includes a person claiming through or under a party;
"Supreme Court" means the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
(2) Where this Act, except section 28, leaves the parties free to determine a certain issue, that freedom includes the right of the parties to authorize a third party, including the B.C. Arbitration Centre or any other institution, to make that determination.
that agreement includes any arbitration rules referred to in that agreement.
(a) any written communication is deemed to have been received if it is delivered to the addressee personally or if it is delivered at the addressee's place of business, habitual residence or mailing address, and
(2) If none of the places referred to in subsection (1) (a) can be found after making a reasonable inquiry, a written communication is deemed to have been received if it is sent to the addressee's last known place of business, habitual residence or mailing address by registered mail or by any other means which provides a record of the attempt to deliver it.
has not been complied with and yet proceeds with the arbitration without stating an objection to noncompliance without undue delay or, if a time limit is provided for stating that objection, within that period of time, is deemed to have waived the right to object.
5 In matters governed by this Act,
(b) an arbitral proceeding of an arbitral tribunal or an order, ruling or arbitral award made by an arbitral tribunal must not be questioned, reviewed or restrained by a proceeding under the Judicial Review Procedure Act or otherwise except to the extent provided in this Act.
6 In construing a provision of this Act, a court or arbitral tribunal may refer to the documents of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law and its working group respecting the preparation of the UNCITRAL Model Arbitration Law and must give those documents the weight that is appropriate in the circumstances.
7 (1) In this Act, "arbitration agreement" means an agreement by the parties to submit to arbitration all or certain disputes which have arisen or which may arise between them in respect of a defined legal relationship, whether contractual or not.
(5) The reference in a contract to a document containing an arbitration clause constitutes an arbitration agreement if the contract is in writing and the reference is such as to make that arbitration clause part of the contract.
8 (1) If a party to an arbitration agreement commences legal proceedings in a court against another party to the agreement in respect of a matter agreed to be submitted to arbitration, a party to the legal proceedings may, before service of any pleadings or taking any other step in the proceedings, apply to that court to stay the proceedings.
(2) In an application under subsection (1), the court must make an order staying the legal proceedings unless it determines that the arbitration agreement is null and void, inoperative or incapable of being performed.
9 It is not incompatible with an arbitration agreement for a party to request from a court, before or during arbitral proceedings, an interim measure of protection and for a court to grant that measure.
(3) Failing any agreement referred to in subsection (2), in an arbitration with 3 arbitrators, each party must appoint one arbitrator, and the 2 appointed arbitrators must appoint the third arbitrator.
the appointment must be made, on request of a party, by the Chief Justice.
(5) Failing any agreement referred to in subsection (2), in an arbitration with a sole arbitrator, if the parties fail to agree on the arbitrator, the appointment must be made, on request of a party, by the Chief Justice.
a party may request the Chief Justice to take the necessary measure, unless the agreement on the appointment procedure provides other means for securing the appointment.
(9) Unless the parties have previously agreed to the appointment of a sole or third arbitrator who is of the same nationality as any of the parties, the Chief Justice must not appoint a sole or third arbitrator who is of the same nationality as that of any of the parties.
12 (1) When a person is approached in connection with his or her possible appointment as an arbitrator, the person must disclose any circumstances likely to give rise to justifiable doubts as to the person's independence or impartiality.
(2) An arbitrator, from the time of his or her appointment and throughout the arbitral proceedings, must, without delay, disclose to the parties any circumstances referred to in subsection (1) unless they have already been informed of them by the arbitrator.
(4) A party may challenge an arbitrator appointed by that party, or in whose appointment the party has participated, only for reasons of which the party becomes aware after the appointment has been made.
(2) Failing any agreement referred to in subsection (1), a party who intends to challenge an arbitrator must, within 15 days after becoming aware of the constitution of the arbitral tribunal or after becoming aware of any circumstances referred to in section 12 (3), send a written statement of the reasons for the challenge to the arbitral tribunal.
(4) If a challenge under any procedure agreed on by the parties or under the procedure under subsection (2) is not successful, the challenging party may request the Supreme Court, within 30 days after having received notice of the decision rejecting the challenge, to decide on the challenge.
(5) If a request is made under subsection (4), the Supreme Court may refuse to decide on the challenge, if it is satisfied that, under the procedure agreed on by the parties, the party making the request had an opportunity to have the challenge decided on by other than the arbitral tribunal.
(4) If, under this section or section 13 (3), an arbitrator withdraws from office or a party agrees to the termination of the mandate of an arbitrator, this does not imply acceptance of the validity of any ground referred to in this section or section 12 (3).
(4) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, an order or ruling of the arbitral tribunal made before the replacement of an arbitrator under this section is not invalid solely because there has been a change in the composition of the tribunal.
(2) A plea that the arbitral tribunal does not have jurisdiction must be raised not later than the submission of the statement of defence; however, a party is not precluded from raising such a plea by the fact that the party has appointed, or participated in the appointment of, an arbitrator.
(3) A plea that the arbitral tribunal is exceeding the scope of its authority must be raised as soon as the matter alleged to be beyond the scope of its authority is raised during the arbitral proceedings.
(6) If the arbitral tribunal rules as a preliminary question that it has jurisdiction, any party may request the Supreme Court, within 30 days after having received notice of that ruling, to decide the matter.
17 (1) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the arbitral tribunal may, at the request of a party, order a party to take any interim measure of protection as the arbitral tribunal may consider necessary in respect of the subject matter of the dispute.
18 The parties must be treated with equality and each party must be given a full opportunity to present their case.
(2) Failing any agreement referred to in subsection (1), the place of arbitration must be determined by the arbitral tribunal having regard to the circumstances of the case, including the convenience of the parties.
(3) Despite subsection (1), the arbitral tribunal may, unless otherwise agreed by the parties, meet at any place it considers appropriate for consultation among its members, for hearing witnesses, experts or the parties, or for inspection of documents, goods or other property.
21 Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the arbitral proceedings in respect of a particular dispute commence on the date on which a request for that dispute to be referred to arbitration is received by the respondent.
(3) The agreement or determination, unless otherwise specified, applies to any written statement by a party, any hearing and any arbitral award, decision or other communication by the arbitral tribunal.
23 (1) Within the period of time agreed on by the parties or determined by the arbitral tribunal, the claimant must state the facts supporting the claim, the points at issue and the relief or remedy sought, and the respondent must state the respondent's defence in respect of these particulars, unless the parties have otherwise agreed as to the required elements of those statements.
(3) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, either party may amend or supplement a claim or defence during the course of the arbitral proceedings, unless the arbitral tribunal considers it inappropriate to allow the amendment or supplement having regard to the delay in making it.
24 (1) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the arbitral tribunal must decide whether to hold oral hearings for the presentation of evidence or for oral argument, or whether the proceedings must be conducted on the basis of documents and other materials.
(4) All statements, documents or other information supplied to, or applications made to, the arbitral tribunal by one party must be communicated to the other party, and any expert report or evidentiary document on which the arbitral tribunal may rely in making its decision is to be communicated to the parties.
25 (1) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, if, without showing sufficient cause, the claimant fails to communicate the statement of claim in accordance with section 23 (1), the arbitral tribunal must terminate the proceedings.
(2) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, if, without showing sufficient cause, the respondent fails to communicate the statement of defence in accordance with section 23 (1), the arbitral tribunal must continue the proceedings without treating that failure in itself as an admission of the claimant's allegations.
(3) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, if, without showing sufficient cause, a party fails to appear at an oral hearing or to produce documentary evidence, the arbitral tribunal may continue the proceedings and make the arbitral award on the evidence before it.
(2) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, if a party so requests or if the arbitral tribunal considers it necessary, the expert must, after delivery of the expert's written or oral report, participate in an oral hearing where the parties have the opportunity to put questions to the expert and to present expert witnesses in order to testify on the points at issue.
(3) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the expert must, on the request of a party, make available to that party, for examination, all documents, goods or other property in the expert's possession with which the expert was provided in order to prepare the expert's report.
27 (1) The arbitral tribunal, or a party with the approval of the arbitral tribunal, may request from the Supreme Court assistance in taking evidence and the court may execute the request within its competence and according to its rules on taking evidence.
(2) If the parties to 2 or more arbitration agreements have agreed, in their respective arbitration agreements or otherwise, to consolidate the arbitrations arising out of those arbitration agreements, the Supreme Court may, on application by one party with the consent of all the other parties to those arbitration agreements, do one or more of the following:
(3) Nothing in this section is to be construed as preventing the parties to 2 or more arbitrations from agreeing to consolidate those arbitrations and taking any steps that are necessary to effect that consolidation.
(2) Any designation by the parties of the law or legal system of a given state must be construed, unless otherwise expressed, as directly referring to the substantive law of that state and not to its conflict of laws rules.
(3) Failing any designation of the law under subsection (1) by the parties, the arbitral tribunal must apply the rules of law it considers to be appropriate given all the circumstances surrounding the dispute.
30 (1) It is not incompatible with an arbitration agreement for an arbitral tribunal to encourage settlement of the dispute and, with the agreement of the parties, the arbitral tribunal may use mediation, conciliation or other procedures at any time during the arbitral proceedings to encourage settlement.
(2) If, during arbitral proceedings, the parties settle the dispute, the arbitral tribunal must terminate the proceedings and, if requested by the parties and not objected to by the arbitral tribunal, record the settlement in the form of an arbitral award on agreed terms.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), in arbitral proceedings with more than one arbitrator, the signatures of the majority of all the members of the arbitral tribunal are sufficient if the reason for any omitted signature is stated.
(a) the claimant withdraws the claim, unless the respondent objects to the order and the arbitral tribunal recognizes a legitimate interest on the respondent's part in obtaining a final settlement of the dispute,
(2) If the arbitral tribunal considers the request made under subsection (1) to be justified, it must make the correction or give the interpretation within 30 days after receipt of the request and the interpretation forms part of the arbitral award.
(4) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, a party may request, within 30 days after receipt of the arbitral award, the arbitral tribunal to make an additional arbitral award as to claims presented in the arbitral proceedings but omitted from the arbitral award.
(iv) the arbitral award deals with a dispute not contemplated by or not falling within the terms of the submission to arbitration, or it contains decisions on matters beyond the scope of the submission to arbitration, provided that, if the decisions on matters submitted to arbitration can be separated from those not so submitted, only that part of the arbitral award which contains decisions on matters not submitted to arbitration may be set aside, or
(v) the composition of the arbitral tribunal or the arbitral procedure was not in accordance with the agreement of the parties, unless that agreement was in conflict with a provision of this Act from which the parties cannot derogate, or, failing any agreement, was not in accordance with this Act, or
(3) An application for setting aside may not be made after 3 months have elapsed from the date on which the party making that application had received the arbitral award or, if a request had been made under section 33, from the date on which that request had been disposed of by the arbitral tribunal.
(4) When asked to set aside an arbitral award the court may, if it is appropriate and it is requested by a party, adjourn the proceedings to set aside the arbitral award for a period of time determined by it in order to give the arbitral tribunal an opportunity to resume the arbitral proceedings or to take such other action as in the arbitral tribunal's opinion will eliminate the grounds for setting aside the arbitral award.
35 (1) Subject to this section and section 36, an arbitral award, irrespective of the state in which it was made, must be recognized as binding and, on application to the Supreme Court, must be enforced.
(iii) the party against whom the arbitral award is invoked was not given proper notice of the appointment of an arbitrator or of the arbitral proceedings or was otherwise unable to present the party's case,
(iv) the arbitral award deals with a dispute not contemplated by or not falling within the terms of the submission to arbitration, or it contains decisions on matters beyond the scope of the submission to arbitration, provided that, if the decisions on matters submitted to arbitration can be separated from those not so submitted, that part of the arbitral award which contains decisions on matters submitted to arbitration may be recognized and enforced,
(v) the composition of the arbitral tribunal or the arbitral procedure was not in accordance with the agreement of the parties or, failing any agreement, was not in accordance with the law of the state where the arbitration took place, or
(2) If an application for setting aside or suspension of an arbitral award has been made to a court referred to in subsection (1) (a) (vi), the court where recognition or enforcement is sought may, if it considers it proper, adjourn its decision and may also, on the application of the party claiming recognition or enforcement of the arbitral award, order the other party to provide appropriate security.
37 The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations
(a) exempting from an enactment, or any provision of it, a person or class of persons who acts in a professional capacity in an international commercial arbitration and is not entitled under the enactment to practise that profession in British Columbia, and
38 Section 5 of the Offence Act does not apply to this Act.
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