The key goal of the present legislative proposal is to make changes in select instances to the German arbitration law now that more than 25 years have elapsed since Book 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Zivilprozessordnung - ZPO) was fundamentally restated by way of the Act on the Revision of Arbitration Law (Gesetz zur Neuregelung des Schiedsverfahrensrechts) of 22 December 1997 (published in the Federal Law Gazette I p. 3224), the intention being to align this area of law with modern needs, to enhance its efficiency and to boost Germany's attractiveness as a venue for arbitration.
Private arbitration is counted among those out-of-court dispute resolution procedures that, by tradition, supplement national state court litigation. Together with the judiciary, it plays a key role for Germany as a forum for legal proceedings and a place to do business.
One of the decisive factors making Germany an attractive dispute resolution centre is a high-quality and internationally competitive arbitration law. German arbitration law as provided for in Book 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure was comprehensively reformed when it was restated in 1997. Over the course of the past quarter of a century, the vast majority of the amendments introduced by the reform have proven effective. For many questions that were not addressed expressly at the time, suitable solutions have been found by arbitral tribunals and state courts. In light of these circumstances, no fundamental reassessment of German arbitration law is required at this juncture.
That said, the field of commercial arbitration has seen a number of developments calling for an adjustment of German law in select instances. Besides the wide-ranging experience gained by jurisprudence in applying the restated Act, this concerns in particular
- the revision of the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) (referred to hereinbelow as the "UNCITRAL Model Law") in 2006,
- various reforms of the national arbitration laws applying in the neighbouring states and the revision of the arbitration rules of major arbitral institutions, as well as
- the continuously advancing digitalisation of procedural law.
The present draft has been prepared against the backdrop of achieving the goals and targets set out in the resolution adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 25 September 2015, "Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" and in particular contributes to realising Sustainable Development Goal 16: to promote the rule of law at the national and international levels, to ensure equal access to justice for all and to build effective institutions at all levels.