May 2021 · LMAA changes

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The London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA), to which PEREZ ALBORS & CO is a supporting member, has been revising its terms and procedures, with changes that came into effect on 1st  May 2021, and which will apply to arbitrations started after that date. President of the LMAA, Bruce Harris, says: “Whilst many of the alterations are matters of ‘fine tuning’, there are a number which are of considerable importance and are needed because of recent developments. One is the recognition, as a result of the pandemic, of virtual and semi-virtual hearings. Not only are these provided for, but a detailed protocol for their conduct is set out in a Schedule to the new terms.

“Another concerns witness statements, which for some years have become vehicles for, in effect, arguing cases rather than fulfilling their real purpose of containing actual evidence. So, in line with requirements now being imposed by the courts, the new terms say that witness statements should, so far as possible, be in a witness’s own words, should be confined to the evidence that the witness can give and should not seek to argue a case.

“Arbitrators will be able to impose costs sanctions if these requirements are ignored. When they are observed statements should become much shorter than they have been, and far more relevant and useful. Other changes which reflect the needs of the times include a procedure for the appointment of arbitrators more rapidly than provided for in the Arbitration Act; a provision allowing the LMAA President to appoint a replacement arbitrator where the original arbitrator is unable to act but is not replaced by the appointer (thus saving the time and cost of asking the court to make an appointment), and confirmation that awards may be signed electronically. The latest revisions bring our terms and procedures bang up to date and will serve London maritime arbitration well for the next few years.”