Jurisdictional issues arising in international arbitration
Jurisdictional issues arising in international arbitration

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

  • Jurisdictional issues arising in international arbitration
  • Validity of the arbitration agreement
  • Whether the tribunal was properly constituted
  • Scope of the arbitration agreement
  • Arbitrator's powers
  • How to raise a jurisdictional challenge
  • Jurisdiction challenges post-award

This Practice Note aims to give an indication of the large variety of jurisdictional issues that may arise in arbitration, but cannot be an exhaustive list. In this context, a jurisdictional challenge means whether the tribunal has jurisdiction to deal with a particular dispute. It is important that both the parties' advisors and the tribunal be aware of the areas where a jurisdictional challenge may arise and advise participants accordingly.

It is important to remember that just because a party can raise a jurisdictional challenge does not mean that it ought to or will do so. It may be that while one party considers a matter not to be subject to an arbitration agreement, the same party would prefer for the matter to be determined by arbitration in any event, therefore waiving its right to challenge jurisdiction on certain grounds. Any such waiver should be confirmed in writing.

The question of the law applicable to jurisdictional issues is complex as the law applicable to the substance of the dispute, the law of the arbitration agreement and the law of the proceedings (curial law) may all need to be considered to assess which law applies to the question of jurisdiction.

Failing the parties' agreement otherwise, the tribunal alone has the power to rule on questions of jurisdiction. However, under English law, a challenge to jurisdiction