ICE'S ARBITRATION advisory panel is working to adopt the 1999 Scottish Arbitration Code in ICE arbitrations in Scotland.
Reviewing and updating procedures is one of the functions of the panel, which has been approached with a proposal that the Institution should adopt the 1999 Scottish Arbitration Code.
The law of arbitration differs between England and Scotland.
The Arbitration Act 1996 does not apply north of the border where arbitration has traditionally relied on common law.
To improve this situation and to introduce the force of statute, the Scottish Courts Advisory Committee under Lord Dervaird produced recommendations from which an Arbitration (Scotland) Bill was prepared. But it was not laid before the Westminster Parliament before devolution intervened and the new Scottish Parliament is unlikely to give consideration to the Bill in the foreseeable future.
To fill the gap the Scottish branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Scottish Council for International Arbitration produced the Scottish Arbitration Code last year.
This has no statutory authority, but its authors were anxious that it should be generally adopted. Since voluntary adoption would inevitably be hit and miss the solution was to get the Code written into arbitration agreements.
When the approach was made to the ICE arbitration advisory panel it was decided to produce a Scottish version of the ICE Arbitration Procedure which would incorporate the Code.
The panel produced the first Arbitration Procedure in 1983 and a new version in 1997 took account of the provisions of the 1996 Arbitration Act. The new Code was to be incorporated into the current Procedure as an entity with only necessary adjustments; for example the presidential appointments procedure.
Scottish arbitrator Chris Ford has taken the lead role in the work which is complete bar the current checking by a senior Scottish lawyer.
The various ICE Conditions of Contract require slight adjustment to accommodate the use of the new Scottish Arbitration Procedure. This is being undertaken by the Construction Contract Joint Standing Committee with engineer and barrister Geoffrey Hawker providing the link with the Arbitration Advisory Panel. The aim is to finalise the Scottish Procedure in time to allow its incorporation into the new edition of the Minor Works Conditions.
The arbitration advisory panel is also responsible for vetting those wishing to join the list of arbitrators held by the Institution. Monitoring of the arbitral and CPD activities of the list takes place every year with a detailed review every five years.
New names are regularly added to the list to replace those who retire and to extend the range of expertise and experience available. The panel is always interested in hearing from suitably qualified engineers who possess the attributes of a good arbitrator.