The new Scheme allows parties to turn to qualified arbitrators to resolve commercial and civil disputes in a timely and cost-effective manner
The Victorian Bar is delighted to announce the launch of the Victorian Commercial Arbitration Scheme (VCAS). The VCAS website is at vcas.net.au
In arbitration, parties agree to have their dispute resolved by a private arbitrator rather than a court and receive a binding decision that can be enforced in the same way as a judgment.
VCAS has been developed by the Victorian Bar to provide a mechanism for speedy and low-cost resolution of disputes by imposing a fixed-time frame for resolving disputes and capped arbitrator’s fees.
The Patron of VCAS is Professor the Honourable Clyde Croft AM SC, the former Judge in Charge of the Arbitration List in the Commercial Court of the Supreme Court of Victoria.
On Wednesday night, the Victorian Bar launched VCAS via a webinar, where an expert panel outlined the operation and benefits of VCAS and fielded questions from those in attendance. The panel comprised several distinguished guests from the Bar and the broader legal profession: Professor the Honourable Clyde Croft AM SC; Her Honour Judge Elizabeth Brimer of the County Court of Victoria; and Professor Bryan Horrigan, Dean of Monash University Law School. The panel was led by Adam Rollnik, Barrister, with Fiona Cameron, Barrister, moderating the questions.
Wendy Harris QC, President of the Victorian Bar, said, “VCAS is one of many initiatives developed by the Victorian Bar that assists Victorians in resolving disputes efficiently and conclusively, particularly during these challenging times. VCAS’s flexibility, speed and affordability will appeal to parties who would otherwise be put off by the high cost, delays and uncertainty commonly associated with court litigation. My particular thanks to Robert Heath QC, Adam Rollnik and Kieran Hickie for designing and spearheading this initiative.”
Professor the Honourable Clyde Croft AM SC, the Patron of VCAS, said, “We believe that VCAS will be of particular benefit to those with commercial disputes in regional Victoria – providing a fast, low-cost solution in local or online venues, or by documents only, to resolve disputes. VCAS is of particular utility at a time when courts and tribunals are accumulating a backlog of cases due to COVID-19 and travel throughout the state is restricted.”
VCAS’s procedures are simple and convenient for parties to a dispute, or the courts themselves, to refer matters to VCAS arbitrators for resolution. VCAS applies to a wide range of commercial and common law disputes, subject to statutory exemptions, providing an avenue for expeditious resolution. VCAS’s operation aligns with the Commercial Arbitration Act 2011 (Vic), which is Victoria’s existing legislative framework supporting arbitration as a viable method of alternative dispute resolution.
VCAS is the second example this year of innovative solutions designed by the Bar to assist parties to disputes find fast and conclusive resolution, particularly during the difficult environment of COVID-19. VCAS follows the Victorian Bar’s launch of the Expedited Mediation Scheme in June 2020, providing for courts to refer appropriate matters to the Bar’s nationally accredited mediators for resolution. The Expedited Mediation Scheme is a complementary initiative as it allows for fast-track appointment of mediators and clear protocols about how mediations should be run. More information about the Expedited Mediation Scheme is here.
Elizabeth Gray on +61 401 561 554 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org