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22 October 2009
The attorney general has proposed the Arbitration (Amendment) Bill 2009 to amend the Arbitration Act 1995. The bill aims to facilitate the cost-effective and expeditious conduct of arbitration proceedings by dealing with matters relating to arbitration proceedings which are unclear in the existing legislation.
The bill proposes an amendment to Section 3 to distinguish clearly between domestic and international arbitrations. An amendment to Section 4 is also proposed to permit the requirement for arbitration agreements to be in writing to be fulfilled by email and fax.
Other significant proposals include the empowerment of the arbitral tribunal to order a party to provide security for costs. The arbitral tribunal is also empowered to determine and apportion costs and expenses of the arbitration.
The bill is currently at its third reading. Once it has been read and passed for a third time, the bill will be passed on to the president for approval. Thereafter, the minister in charge will publish the date upon which the bill will take effect in The Gazette.
The proposed amendments are necessary and long overdue. The proposed widening of the scope of the act to allow arbitration agreements to be made by email and fax recognizes technological advances in commercial practices. The proposed increase in the power and jurisdiction of arbitral tribunals would ensure that such tribunals can deal with all issues arising from arbitation proceedings, and would thus limit the number of cases needing to be referred to court for interim measures.
For further information on this topic please contact Caroline Thuo at Njoroge Regeru & Company by telephone (+254 20 271 8482), fax (+254 20 271 8485) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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