IMPACT OF ARBITRATION ON LEGAL PRACTICE
For lawyers specialising in construction and maritime law arbitration is a central feature of practice. However, arbitration has had little impact on general practice to date. Modern forms of arbitration and adjudication have much to offer e-commerce particularly since the net provides an ideal method for the transmission of claims and evidence. Furthermore, the globalisation of trade is likely to result in far more commercial arbitration in the future. The reforms introduced by the Arbitration Act 1996 will do much to ensure that a reasonable proportion of future arbitration work comes to the United Kingdom.
Lawyers will be comfortable with the role that they can play in court in support of the arbitral process, such as applications for discoveries, security and stay of action but are likely to be less familiar with the arbitral hearing process itself. In the past lawyers have tended to drift into Arbitration practice without any formal training in the differences between litigation and arbitration practice. There is no reason why lawyers cannot quickly adapt to arbitration practice. There are striking similarities today between the case management powers and duties of judges and arbitrators. In the light of the wide ranging discretion available to arbitrators in terms of the arbitral process some training for the uninitiated is recommended.