Arbitration—an introduction to the key features of arbitration
Produced in partnership with Simmons & Simmons LLP
Arbitration—an introduction to the key features of arbitration

The following Arbitration guidance note Produced in partnership with Simmons & Simmons LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Arbitration—an introduction to the key features of arbitration
  • Party autonomy and procedural flexibility
  • Choice of seat or forum
  • Choice of decision makers—the tribunal
  • Privity and joinder
  • Separability of the arbitration agreement
  • Confidentiality and privacy in arbitration
  • Expedited arbitration procedures and the rise in sole arbitrators
  • Enforceability of arbitral awards

Arbitration is a procedure in which a dispute is submitted, by agreement of the parties, to one or more arbitrators who make a binding decision on the dispute. In choosing arbitration, the parties opt for a private dispute resolution procedure instead of going to court.

Arbitration differs from other dispute resolution methods in a number of respects and some of the important key features are considered below. Arbitration results in a decision which is final, binds the parties and is enforceable against the losing party.

To be clear, arbitration is not the same as mediation, which is a non-binding process until a settlement agreement is concluded.

Party autonomy and procedural flexibility

Party autonomy and procedural flexibility are key features in any arbitration. A dispute can only be arbitrated with the agreement of all parties involved, either at the time of the dispute or, more commonly, at the outset of the contractual relationship between them.

Parties can agree on all aspects of an arbitration but will be bound by any mandatory rules of the jurisdiction in which they choose to arbitrate. Under the Arbitration Act 1996 (AA 1996), parties arbitrating a dispute in England, Wales or Northern Ireland cannot exclude certain parts of AA 1996, including the right to challenge an award before the courts on the grounds that the tribunal lacked