British Virgin Islands Pass Revamped Arbitration Act
The final effort of the Arbitration Focus Group, a committee formed of both public and private representatives in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), has been published in draft form and will soon be read into the record as a new law governing arbitrations in the BVI. The committee was charged with modernizing the arbitration laws of the BVI, which had not been significantly reviewed since 1975.
One of the main changes is the addition of enforcement mechanisms for foreign arbitration orders in the BVI. The new legislation also creates a new statutory body in the BVI International Arbitration Centre. The legislation also incorporates the international standard UNCITRAL model law on arbitration into the local regulations.
The impetus for the revamped legislation came from a recent court ruling that standard arbitration clauses in international agreements were enforceable, requiring a more modern and flexible arbitration framework in the BVI as it attempts to retain and encourage international business dealings. There has been some indication that the British Virgin Islands seeks to become an “arbitration centre” of the local area, much as London is for Europe.