The addition of Hong Kong as the fourth named arbitration option has prompted BIMCO to overhaul its law and arbitration clause. The new edition was approved for publication at the recent meeting of BIMCO’s Documentary Committee and is available to download from our website.
The shortened version of the clause does away with separate subclauses for each of the named venues. Instead, BIMCO has reached agreement with London, New York, Singapore and Hong Kong on a “harmonised” wording. In BIMCO contracts users will simply select their choice of law and arbitration to apply to their contract from a dropdown list. Their choice will populate the clause with information such as applicable law, place and seat of arbitration, the terms, rules and procedures to apply and small claims provisions. As with previous editions of the clause, parties are also able to make a “free” choice and add the applicable law and arbitration if other than the named venues.
The new clause was developed with the assistance of Clive Aston, LMAA, London; Soren Wolmer, SMA New York; Punit Oza, SCMA, Singapore; and Arthur Bowring, HKMAG, Hong Kong.
"We are very grateful for the hard work of many whose professionalism over the years has led to this recognition of Hong Kong’s strengths as a an efficient, expeditious and cost effective maritime dispute resolution centre," says Arthur Bowring, President of the Hong Kong Maritime Arbitration Group.
A new feature of the clause is a mechanism to deal with the sending of notices and communications relating to the arbitration and how those notices are to treated as having been served effectively. This requires the parties to give the contact details for receipt of notices and to amend those details should they change during the course of a contract.
“The LMAA welcomes any initiative that clarifies the process for the appointment of arbitrators. The BIMCO Law and Arbitration Clause 2020 addresses this in simple but comprehensive terms. The inclusion of a provision for the service of notices in relation to arbitration is of particular note,” says Clive Aston, LMAA, London.
Soren Wolmer, SMA, New York adds: “We are very much in favour of standardising the arbitration process and this initiative by BIMCO to produce a short but clearly worded standard arbitration clause is very much weclomed by the SMA."
Punit Oza, SCMA, Singapore said: “SCMA is very appreciative of the inclusive efforts spearheaded by BIMCO to create a simpler and efficient Law & Arbitration Clause, which we feel will be welcomed by the industry users. We would also like to place our appreciation to include SCMA in this process and to the other Maritime Arbitration Associations and Chambers from London, New York and Hong Kong, who all contributed positively.”
The mediation provision that previously formed part of the clause has been removed and will be offered as a free-standing clause in BIMCO’s clauses library.
Copies of the BIMCO Law and Arbitration Clause 2020 for each of the four named venues can be downloaded here.
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