AA 1996—extension of time for commencing arbitration (s 12)
Produced in partnership with Farrer & Co
AA 1996—extension of time for commencing arbitration (s 12)

The following Arbitration practice note produced in partnership with Farrer & Co provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • AA 1996—extension of time for commencing arbitration (s 12)
  • Extension of contractual time limit—AA 1996, s 12
  • The first basis—AA 1996, s 12(3)(a)—the meaning of reasonable contemplation
  • The first basis—AA 1996, s 12(3)(a)—just to extend time
  • The second basis——AA 1996, s 12(3)(b)—conduct of the opposing party
  • What extension may be ordered?
  • Statutory limitation periods and extensions of time
  • How do I make the application for an extension of time?
  • Appeals from AA 1996, s 12 decisions

The Arbitration Act 1996 (AA 1996) provides a mechanism for parties who wish to commence arbitration but cannot do so within a contractually agreed time period (for whatever reason) to apply to the English and Welsh (English and England are used throughout) court for an extension of time. The English courts will not, however, grant an extension of time lightly; the AA 1996 gave full effect to the notion of party autonomy and abandoned the idea that the courts enjoyed some general power of supervisory jurisdiction over arbitrations (Haven Insurance v EUI (t/a Elephant Insurance)).

Extension of contractual time limit—AA 1996, s 12

AA 1996, s 12 provides that where an arbitration agreement provides a time limit for commencing arbitration or other dispute resolution process prior to arbitration, the court may extend the time for taking that step (note that this applies only to contractual, not statutory time limits (AA 1996, s 12(5))). This section of the Act is mandatory and the parties cannot agree that it will not apply (AA 1996, Sch 1).

The application can only be made where a dispute has arisen (AA 1996, s 12(2)), the other party has been given notice (AA 1996, s 12(2); CPR 62.6(2)–(3)) and any available arbitral procedure has been exhausted (AA 1996, s 12(2)).

The court can only make the order extending time if it is satisfied that

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