The term ‘provisional relief’, also known as ‘provisional remedy’ and ‘interim remedy’, refers to preliminary injunctions that are issued by a court while an arbitration proceeding is pending.
The aim of provisional relief is to preserve the ‘status quo’, i.e. the position between the parties, and ensure the effectiveness of an arbitration award pending the outcome of a dispute resolution. The court can order relief if a party establishes that any arbitration award made in its favour would be rendered ineffectual without such relief.
A common form of provisional relief is an order to ‘preserve assets’ that are in dispute. For example, a court or tribunal might restrain a sale of the property that is the subject of the dispute, such as a building. Relief can also be granted to one party for the non-performance of the other party as a result of the dispute.
Provisional measures are said to be ‘conservative’ in nature, as they are intended to preserve the effectiveness of the arbitration process, as opposed to awarding one party an advance of the relief they seek from the dispute resolution process. As such, it is unlikely that provisional relief will be granted where it would materially prejudice or disadvantage the other party.
According to section 39 of the Arbitration Act, the parties are free to agree that the tribunal will have the power to order any relief that it would have the power to grant as a final award on a provisional basis as relief to one or other party.
The granting of provisional relief will often depend on:
- The parties’ agreement set out in the arbitration clause in the contract.
- Whether the parties have adopted the provisions of any institutional rules of arbitration.
- The jurisdiction in which the arbitration will take place, as this might limit or prescribe the tribunal’s powers.
The Arbitration Act states that, unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the tribunal has the power to order as provisional relief:
- A declaration on any matter.
- A sum of money.
- A party to do or refrain from doing anything.
- Specific performance of a contract.
- The rectifying, setting aside or cancelling of a deed or other document.
- Simple or compound interest from any date considered appropriate.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Alternative dispute resolution.
- Arbitration Act.
- Causes of construction disputes.
- Construction Industry Model Arbitration Rules CIMAR.
- Dispute resolution boards.
- Payment notice.
- Pendulum arbitration.
- Remedies for late payment.
 External resources
- Practical Law - Arbitration
Featured articles and news
This article explains the Buildings Regulations completion certificate, what it is, and when its needed.
Graphene has many potential applications, but when will it start being used in civil engineering?
Increasing productivity – now more than ever as we lead up to Brexit – should be the sector’s number one priority in 2018.
Carillion's collapse causes Construction Leadership Council to delay the construction sector deal report.
Urban Heritage, Development and Sustainability: international frameworks, national and local guidance.
What will the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) mean for you when they come into force in May?
Business Secretary chairs a new taskforce to monitor and advise on mitigating the impacts of Carillion’s liquidation.
Sir John Armitt is appointed the new chair of the National Infrastructure Commission.
High quality and high density homes - is it what we need or is it storing up trouble?
Government announces its intention to strengthen planning rules to protect music venues and neighbours.
National Audit Office reports that there is little evidence that PFI offers better value than other forms of contracting.
What is liquidation and how does it apply to contractors in the construction industry?