by Erica Stein (Counsel, Hanotiau & van den Berg, Brussels)
and Maarten Draye (Senior Associate, Hanotiau & van den Berg, Brussels)
On 1 September 2013, a new arbitration law came into effect in Belgium. The new law is modern and progressive, and underlines Belgium’s ambitions to increase its popularity as a venue for international arbitrations.
The new law generally adopts the wording and contents of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration as amended in 2006. The legislator further drew inspiration from the French, German and Swiss arbitration laws and retained a number of specificities of the former Belgian law. In this regard, it is worth noting that the provision of the old law that entitles parties without domicile, registered office or branch in Belgium to exclude the possibility of annulment of an award by express agreement for arbitrations seated in Belgium is retained. Also, the legislator opted again to incorporate the law on arbitration in Title VI of the Code of Civil Procedure, and to maintain the uniform approach to domestic and international arbitration.