AA 1996—starting an arbitration
AA 1996—starting an arbitration

The following Arbitration practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • AA 1996—starting an arbitration
  • Prior to starting the arbitration
  • Notice requiring arbitration
  • Service of the notice
  • Is payment of a fee a pre-condition of commencing arbitration?
  • What if the respondent does not exist?

This Practice Note provides guidance on commencing arbitral proceedings under the Arbitration Act 1996 (AA 1996).

Prior to starting the arbitration

Before commencing arbitration proceedings, parties should consider whether there is any contractual requirement to enter into mediation or any other form of ADR procedure. It is common for dispute resolution clauses to be tiered in such a way—see: Drafting ADR clauses—overview and Practice Note: Types of dispute resolution clauses—litigation, mediation, multi-tier, hybrid and carve-out clauses. If there is such a requirement then the English and Welsh courts have shown that, subject to certain conditions, they will try to uphold the clause and that the parties must enter into the agreed process (see, eg, Channel Tunnel v Balfour Beatty, Mackley v Gosport, Cable & Wireless v IBM, Cott v FE Barber, Holloway v Chancery Mead, Emirates Trading v Prime Mineral, and Ohpen v Invesco).

The courts take a common sense approach to the interpretation of requirements for pre-arbitration formalities. In EEEL v Vijay, the parties’ dispute resolution clause stipulated, ‘each Party shall notify another Party of such dispute, and both Parties shall try to settle such dispute amicably before any arbitration starts. However, unless otherwise agreed between the Parties, the arbitration shall not start before expiration of a two-month period starting on the day of the notice of a dispute, even though attempts may not be made

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