AA 1996—tribunal powers
Produced in partnership with Professor Robert Merkin
AA 1996—tribunal powers

The following Arbitration guidance note Produced in partnership with Professor Robert Merkin provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • AA 1996—tribunal powers
  • Powers that can be excluded by party agreement
  • Powers that can be granted by party agreement

Arbitrators’ powers regarding the conduct of the arbitral process are, for the most part, a matter for the agreement of the parties, which may be ad hoc or found in the institutional rules that the parties have adopted. These matters may, if not otherwise agreed, be resolved at a preliminary meeting between the arbitrators and the parties.

The Arbitration Act 1996 (AA 1996), which applies to any arbitration with its seat in England and Wales or Northern Ireland, does not lay down any mandatory rules for the conduct of an arbitration other than the basic principle in AA 1996, s 33, which requires the arbitrators to act fairly in their conduct of the proceedings. However, AA 1996 lays down a number of default rules that will apply unless the parties have agreed to exclude them. It is open to the parties to confer such powers on the arbitrators as they wish, although they have to be exercised in accordance with the overriding principle in AA 1996, s 33.

Powers that can be excluded by party agreement

AA 1996 sets out powers that are exercisable by the arbitrators unless agreed otherwise by the parties. For example:

  1. competence to rule on its own jurisdiction—the tribunal can rule on its own substantive jurisdiction as to:

    1. whether there is a valid arbitration agreement

    2. whether the