Important COVID-19 Update

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These are certainly challenging times for us all.

We are committed to doing everything we can to prioritise the wellbeing of our people, those who use our services and their representatives and the communities we serve to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Saturday, our people will begin working remotely from today, Monday 23 March.

Having well developed online dispute resolution options, it will in many ways be business as usual for us as we focus on providing a seamless service, regardless of where our Registry staff, arbitrators, mediators and other dispute resolution practitioners are working.

We know you are working through similar challenges to ours and that these are uncertain times for everyone. From all of us here we send our thoughts to you, your teams and families.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance to you and we will keep you informed with any further updates.

Australia has become the sixth country to ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Agreement, after Japan, Singapore, Mexico, New Zealand and Canada triggering the 60 day countdown to entry into force of the Agreement on 30 December 2018 and the first round of tariff cuts.

Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker said the threshold to bring the deal into effect was crossed when Australia notified New Zealand today, as Depositary for the CPTPP, that it had completed its domestic procedures to ratify the Agreement.

The CPTPP marks the first free trade deal for New Zealand with Japan, the third largest economy in the world, as well as with Mexico and Canada – both G20 countries. The remaining countries yet to ratify are Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam. Other countries have also expressed formal interest in negotiating accession to the CPTPP, including Colombia, Korea, and the United Kingdom.

The CPTPP markets are collectively home to 480 million consumers and make up 13.5 per cent of world GDP.

With the CPTPP coming into force, it is inevitable that with the significant opportunities and the resultant increase in international trade and commerce, there will be a correlative increase in the number of disputes between parties to those cross-border transactions, and it is essential that those contracting parties have access to prompt, efficient, and cost effective dispute resolution mechanisms and services.

New Zealand is a modern, dynamic country with an open economy and business environment with strong respect for diversity; it is politically stable and has excellent infrastructure, communication, technology, and a supportive legal environment that underpins the efficacy of international dispute resolution; and it is highly respected globally as an independent and lawful jurisdiction for international arbitration and mediation.

With New Zealand’s well developed and trusted legal system, world class infrastructure, and ‘safe nation’ status, and NZIAC’s new Rules, NZIAC is ideally positioned to become the Trans-Pacific Region’s premier forum to handle the expected growth in complex, cross-border commercial and investment disputes in the region.

The following arbitration clause should be included in contracts where the parties wish to have any future disputes resolved by Arbitration under the New Zealand International Arbitration Centre’s Arbitration Rules:

Any dispute or difference arising out of or in connection with this contract, or the subject matter of this contract, including any question about its existence, validity or termination, shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration in accordance with the Arbitration Rules of the New Zealand International Arbitration Centre.”

Parties to an existing dispute that have not incorporated the NZIAC Model Clause into a prior agreement may agree to refer that dispute to Arbitration under the NZIAC Arbitration Rules by signing the Arbitration Agreement in the form found at Appendix 2 to those Rules.

By John Green

John is the founder and a Director of the New Zealand Dispute Resolution Centre; the New Zealand International Arbitration Centre; the Building Disputes Tribunal; the New Zealand Family Dispute Resolution Centre; and BuildSafe®. He is the Editor of BuildLaw® and ReSolution®.