AA 1996—challenging an arbitral tribunal’s jurisdiction pre-award (ss 31 and 32)
Produced in partnership with Latham and Watkins LLP
AA 1996—challenging an arbitral tribunal’s jurisdiction pre-award (ss 31 and 32)

The following Arbitration practice note Produced in partnership with Latham and Watkins LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • AA 1996—challenging an arbitral tribunal’s jurisdiction pre-award (ss 31 and 32)
  • Principle of kompetenz-kompetenz
  • Objecting to the substantive jurisdiction of the tribunal
  • Objecting to the tribunal’s jurisdiction before the tribunal (AA 1996, s 31)
  • Determination of a preliminary point of jurisdiction—application to the English court (AA 1996, s 32)
  • Challenging the validity of an arbitration agreement other than by a challenge to jurisdiction under AA 1996, ss 31 or 32

IP COMPLETION DAY: 11:00 pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marks the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements come to an end and significant changes begin to take effect across the UK’s legal regime. This document contains guidance on a subject impacted by these changes. Before continuing your research, see: Arbitration—IP completion day—checklist.

This Practice Note considers the bases on which an arbitral tribunal’s substantive jurisdiction can be challenged before an award is made, pursuant to the Arbitration Act 1996 (AA 1996). This Practice Note should be read in conjunction with Practice Note: AA 1996—challenging an arbitral tribunal's jurisdiction in court (pre-award)—procedure (s 32).

For guidance on post-award challenges and appeals under AA 1996, see Practice Note: AA 1996—challenging and appealing arbitral awards in the English court.

Principle of kompetenz-kompetenz

AA 1996, s 30(1) enshrines the principle of kompetenz-kompetenz (or competence-competence) in English arbitration law. This principle (as found in Article 16 of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (the Model Law)) provides that the tribunal should be able to rule whether it has jurisdiction to determine the dispute referred to it.

AA 1996, s 30(1) provides that:

'Unless otherwise agreed by the

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