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Introduction The courts are often requested to enforce an arbitration agreement by granting a stay of court proceedings. A stay application may be made when a party has commenced court proceedings even though the underlying contract contains an arbitration clause. In considering whether or not to grant a stay, courts in different jurisdictions have adopted different approaches to the standard of review. In England, the House of Lords (now the Supreme Court) adopted a presumptive…

This excerpt originally appeared in the Baker McKenzie International Arbitration Yearbook 2017-2018. The Yearbook comprises reports on arbitration in key jurisdictions around the globe. You can access the Yearbook here. The country chapter “Australia” can be found here. In recent years, the Australian courts have given detailed consideration to the interpretation of arbitration agreements for the purpose of staying court proceedings under Section 7 of the IAA and Article 8 of the UNCITRAL Model Law.…

Have you heard of the arbitration guidelines of the Law Institute of Victoria? Neither had Justice Croft when, in Robotunits Pty Ltd v Mennel, he had to consider an arbitration agreement that referred disputes to arbitration in accordance with these fictitious guidelines. This case demonstrates that Australian courts will uphold arbitration agreements where there is clear intention to refer disputes to arbitration even if the arbitration clause is poorly drafted. Background Mr Mennel and Robotunits Pty…

Agreement has been reached on the long-awaited Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a free trade agreement between 12 Pacific Rim nations, including Australia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States, which represent around 40% of global GDP and one third of world trade. The text of the TPP is still being finalised by the TPP States and is not yet available. Reports indicate that the TPP includes an Investment Chapter with a…