This landmark legislative reform is aimed at creating a more favourable and standardised legal environment for the conduct of international arbitration and the enforcement of international arbitration awards in Papua New Guinea. The New York Convention is widely regarded as the cornerstone of modern international arbitration, and requires courts of contracting states to give effect to arbitration agreements and to recognize and enforce awards made in other states, subject to specific limited exceptions. The Model Law is a legislative template that provides a framework that is supportive of international commercial arbitration, limits judicial interference in the arbitral process, and recognises the autonomy of the parties to shape the arbitral process. By implementing Papua New Guinea's core commitments under the New York Convention and replacing the pre-independence Arbitration Act 1951, to enforce arbitration agreements and arbitral awards, this reform brings Papua New Guinea's international arbitration legislation in line with leading international arbitration jurisdictions such as Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Singapore, as well as regional leaders such as Fiji.

Our International Arbitration Group is delighted to have worked with the Asian Development Bank ("ADB"), UNCITRAL, and the Papua New Guinea Government on the drafting of the Acts. Partners Gary Born and Jonathan Lim led the Group's work, as part of their participation in the Papua New Guinea Arbitration Technical Working Committee, which was established in 2018 and comprised members of the judiciary and legal representatives from the Department of Justice & Attorney General, as well as other relevant government departments. Senior Associates Michael Greenop and Xiaohan Cai assisted with legal research, analysis, and drafting. Mr. Lim also participated in the November 2019 public consultation meetings with other members of the Arbitration Technical Working Committee held in Mt Hagen, Port Moresby, Lae and Kokopo.

The International Arbitration Group's work in Papua New Guinea is part of a broader technical assistance project promoting international arbitration reform in the South Pacific and beyond that. It was initiated and overseen by the ADB's Office of the General Counsel's Law and Policy Reform Program and led by Christina Pak, Principal Counsel, Office of the General Counsel, at the ADB. Mr. Born and Mr. Lim had also previously worked with the ADB, the UNCITRAL and the Papua New Guinea Government to assist with Papua New Guinea's accession to the New York Convention. The South Pacific project includes other countries in the South Pacific such as Timor-Leste, Fiji, Palau, Samoa, and Tonga. Apart from assistance on law reform efforts, the International Arbitration Group continues to support capacity-building initiatives for the private sector, lawyers and judiciary in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Palau, and other South Pacific countries.

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP offers one of the world's premier international arbitration and dispute resolution practices. Our International Arbitration Practice Group has been involved in more than 650 proceedings in recent years. We have successfully represented clients in four of the largest institutional arbitrations and several of the most significant ad hoc arbitrations to arise in the past decade. Learn more

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