The New Zealand International Arbitration Centre (NZIAC) provides an effective forum for the settlement of international trade, commerce, investment, and cross-border disputes in the Trans-Pacific region.
NZIAC offers fully administered dispute resolution processes, including arbitration, mediation, and arb-med, and maintains panels of arbitrators and mediators who are recognised and respected globally as leaders in international dispute resolution.
The four key objectives of NZIAC are:
- to support and facilitate the growth and development of international dispute resolution in the Trans-Pacific Region;
- to promote and underpin trade, investment, and sustainable economic development and growth in the Trans-Pacific Region;
- to provide an effective and certain forum for the settlement of international trade, commerce, investment, and cross-border disputes in the Trans-Pacific Region; and
- to promote New Zealand as a fair, safe and neutral regional hub for international dispute resolution and seat for international arbitration in the Trans-Pacific Region.
NZIAC is a member of the Asia Pacific Regional Arbitration Group (APRAG).
Ideal neutral location
New Zealand provides an ideal, neutral and independent seat/venue for international dispute resolution.
Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2023 placed New Zealand third overall. With an average score of 45 out of 100 for Asia Pacific countries included in the index, New Zealand stands out as a clear leader in the region and globally.
As at 1 December 2023, the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index ranked New Zealand in 8th place globally and 1st in the East Asia & Pacific Region. The Index is the world’s most comprehensive data set of its kind and serves as an independent quantitative tool that measures countries’ adherence to the rule of law in practice.
The rule of law is profoundly important for a fair and functioning justice system to underpin effective international dispute resolution. It is beyond argument that New Zealand is highly respected globally as an independent and lawful jurisdiction for international arbitration and mediation.
Geographically, New Zealand is well located in the South Pacific nestled centrally between Asia, Australia, the Pacific Islands, and the western seaboard of the United States and South America.
New Zealand is well served by international airlines with frequent scheduled flights to its well appointed and efficient international airports. Travel within New Zealand is safe and easy and visitors are well served with world class accommodation and of course, New Zealand’s stunning natural scenery, viticulture, and food are world renowned and to be enjoyed by any visitor.
New Zealand is a modern, dynamic country with an open economy and business environment with strong respect for diversity. New Zealand is politically stable and has excellent infrastructure, communication, technology, and a supportive legal environment that underpins the efficacy of international dispute resolution.
Supportive legal environment
New Zealand has been at the forefront of the development of modern arbitration legislation having enacted in 1996 a modern statute (the Arbitration Act 1996) based on the UNCITRAL Law on International Commercial Arbitration (the Model law). When the Arbitration Amendment Act 2007 came into force on 18 October 2007, New Zealand became the first country in the world to adopt the whole of the new UNCITRAL legislative provisions on interim measures and preliminary orders with only a few minor modifications.
New Zealand has been a signatory to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, New York, 1958 (the New York Convention) since 1983.
New Zealand’s courts are independent of the state, efficient, and of the highest integrity. New Zealand courts offer strong judicial support for arbitration, upholding arbitration agreements and applying the Arbitration Act in accordance with its principal underlying themes of party autonomy; reduced judicial involvement in the arbitral process; consistency with laws from other jurisdictions; and, increased powers for the arbitral tribunal. Part 17 of the High Court Rules supplements the Arbitration Act by setting out certain procedural rules for court proceedings in relation to arbitral matters.
Foreign lawyers may appear in arbitrations conducted in New Zealand. The Arbitration Act does not impose any qualifications/formal requirements as to those who may appear or represent parties to an arbitration and a party may be represented by any person of their choice, whether legally qualified or not.
New Zealand is unique in having statutory protection of confidentiality in arbitration unless the parties agree otherwise.
New Zealand is renowned for its legal and technological expertise. There are excellent facilities and technological resources to support the conduct of arbitration in New Zealand. Costs of arbitration are generally lower in New Zealand than in most other comparable jurisdictions.
With New Zealand’s well developed and trusted legal system, world class infrastructure, and ‘safe nation’ status, 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.
NZIAC 2018 Rules
The settlement of disputes by Arbitration, Mediation, Arb-Med, and other private forms of dispute resolution is an important feature of the global commercial and legal landscape.
NZIAC is committed to providing parties to international commercial disputes with the widest capacity to adopt dispute resolution processes and procedures that are fair, prompt, and cost effective, and which provide a proportionate response to the amounts in dispute and the complexity of the issues involved.
In recent times, delays in obtaining awards and the cost of international arbitration have made many cross-border disputes uneconomic for parties to pursue.
To redress that situation, NZIAC has developed a new suite of rules (Rules) to govern the delivery of its international dispute resolution services that are robust and certain, yet innovative in their commercial commonsense approach to challenging issues such as appointment, urgent interim relief, expedited procedures, summary procedures for early dismissal of claims and defences, joinder, consolidation, multiple contracts, confidentiality, representation, mediation, arbitral secretaries, expert evidence, appeals, costs, and combining arbitration and mediation in a single unified Arb-Med process that ensures the principles of natural justice are observed and a just, final, and binding decision is made.
The Rules contain a number of visionary innovations intended to address the needs of the modern international business community for efficient and effective dispute resolution and to assert NZIAC’s position as the premier forum for the settlement of international trade, commerce, investment, and cross-border disputes in the Trans-Pacific Region.
The Rules provide both a framework and detailed provisions to ensure the efficient and cost effective resolution of disputes and reflect a modern and fresh approach to legal drafting. They are set out in a manner designed to facilitate ease of use and may be adopted by agreement in writing at any time before or after a dispute has arisen.
The Rules are tailored to meet the needs and requirements of global and regional commercial parties and are purposively directed to ensuring the resolution of international disputes in a manner that is efficient, cost-effective, and certain.
While the Rules have been developed in New Zealand, they are appropriate for use by parties from any country and may be applied in any jurisdiction through NZIAC.
There is no question that the release by NZIAC of its 2018 suite of Rules will be keenly followed and will undoubtedly mark one of the most significant developments on the international dispute resolution scene this year.