Commencement date of an arbitration under the AA 1996 and arbitration rules
Commencement date of an arbitration under the AA 1996 and arbitration rules

The following Arbitration practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Commencement date of an arbitration under the AA 1996 and arbitration rules
  • Importance of the start or commencement date in arbitration proceedings
  • Start date expressly agreed by the parties
  • No party agreement on start date for an arbitration
  • Institutional and UNCITRAL arbitration rules
  • What happens where there is a difference between the commencement date provided by national law and arbitration rules?

This Practice Note considers the start or commencement date of arbitration proceedings with particular reference to the Arbitration Act 1996 (AA 1996) as it applies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Practice Note also considers how commencement dates are determined under some of the leading arbitration rules for ad hoc and institutional arbitrations.

Importance of the start or commencement date in arbitration proceedings

It is important for parties to be clear on the start date of an arbitration because:

  1. it will be used to calculate time periods going forward, eg for filing written submissions or if there is a requirement for an award to be rendered within a certain period

  2. it will determine whether any contractual or statutory time or limitation period has been complied with

For guidance on limitation periods in arbitration, see Practice Notes: Limitation periods in arbitration (England and Wales) and Foreign Limitation Periods Act 1984, and for information on limitation under English law in general, see: Limitation—overview.

For information on considering time limits prior to starting arbitration and extensions of time should a contractual commencement date be missed, see Practice Notes: AA 1996—starting an arbitration and AA 1996—extension of time for commencing arbitration (s 12).

Start date expressly agreed by the parties

Parties can expressly agree the start date for an arbitration (AA 1996, s 14(1)); there is no requirement for express reference to AA

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