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New Commercial Arbitration and Mediation Centre for Melbourne

Melbourne is set to have a new hub for commercial arbitration and mediation, enhancing Victoria’s already strong reputation in commercial dispute resolution.

The Department of Justice, Supreme Court, Victorian Bar, Law Institute of Victoria and Courts Services Victoria have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the new Centre.

The Melbourne Commercial Arbitration and Mediation Centre will be based at the William Cooper Justice Centre in William Street, at the heart of Melbourne’s legal precinct, and will also have access to a range of other arbitration and mediation facilities across Melbourne.

Parties will be able to use a web-based service to identify a venue that will best meet their needs and to book the venue and associated services such as catering, breakout rooms and secure storage.

“The Centre will boost the attractiveness of Melbourne for domestic and international parties seeking a venue to resolve commercial disputes, providing integrated access to a wide range of facilities and support services,” Attorney-General, Robert Clark, said.

The Supreme Court, County Court and legal profession in Victoria have worked closely with the Government to establish the Centre.

“The Melbourne Centre is the next part of the Australian arbitration grid. With Sydney, Melbourne and soon, hopefully, Perth, arbitrations will be encouraged and well-served in Australia,” Chief Justice Marilyn Warren said.

“The Melbourne Centre is supported by the Supreme Court Arbitration List headed by Justice Clyde Croft”.

Victorian Bar Chairman Will Alstergren SC said the new facility was a significant step in confirming Melbourne as a centre for international excellence in arbitration and mediation.

“This Centre adds considerably to Melbourne’s reputation as an advanced jurisdiction for dispute resolution, bringing together all methods of dispute resolution with the highest quality advocates, arbitrators and mediators,” Mr Alstergren said.

“The combination of the Bar, the LIV and Court Services Victoria in the development of this Centre ensures an efficient service for national and international matters to be resolved in a neutral, purpose built location with central booking to assist firms and clients to locate the right facilities.”

President of the Law Institute of Victoria, Reynah Tang said arbitration was an increasingly attractive alternative for resolving large commercial disputes.

“This new Centre, together with the quality of its arbitrators and mediators, will give Melbourne the credentials it needs to establish itself as a regional hub of excellence for international arbitration,” Mr Tang said.

The establishment of the Centre follows the 2011 introduction of a new Victorian Commercial Arbitration Act, based on international model rules, and Victoria and NSW last week committing to uniform regulation of the legal profession.

The Centre and booking service are planned to open in March 2014, to coincide with Melbourne hosting the Asia Pacific Regional Arbitration Group Conference.