The House of Lords is scheduled to consider the Arbitration Bill [HL] in a second reading committee on 19 December 2023. The government has published explanatory notes and a delegated powers memorandum to accompany the bill. It has also published an impact assessment, a human rights memorandum and a factsheet setting out more detail on the bill’s aims and expected impact.

The Arbitration Act 1996 regulates arbitration in England and Wales and in Northern Ireland. The bill would amend the act as it applies in England and Wales—and in Northern Ireland subject to devolved consent—following recommendations by the Law Commission. The government agreed with all of the Law Commission’s recommendations and the bill would bring these into effect.

Law Commission bills may be subject to special procedures in the House of Lords, including being committed to a second reading committee and a special public bill committee for further scrutiny. On 4 December 2023 the House agreed to commit the bill to a second reading committee. The committee, in which all members eligible to sit may participate, will function like a grand committee. The committee is expected to debate the bill on 19 December 2023 and the debate will have no formal time limit. The second reading motion is then expected to be taken without debate in the chamber at a later date, before a special public bill committee undertakes further scrutiny and reports back to the House as a whole.

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