Arbitration

Arbitration is a private means of settling a dispute. It does not form part of the public legal system, but it is subject to legislation. There are centres for arbitration in many countries, both New York and London are popular centres for arbitration in charter party disputes but depending on the parties involved and the terms of the arbitration, arbitration proceedings are also conducted in Moscow, Paris and Peking, as well as several other places. In England, the statutory regulation of the law relating to arbitration is contained in the Arbitration Acts of 1950, 1975, 1979 and 1996. The Arbitration Act 1950 is the principal Act  The parties choose their own arbitrator and will pay for his services. An arbitrator’s award may be enforced in the same way as a High Court judgement (Section 26 Arbitration Act 1950). A reference by agreement of the parties must originate in an arbitration agreement. If a party to an arbitration agreement commences proceedings in Court, contrary to his agreement to submit to arbitration, the Court, on the application of the other party, has the discretion to insist upon the arbitration proceeding or, in certain rare cases, it may break the arbitration agreement and hear the dispute. The duty of the arbitrator is to make an award on the matters in dispute between the parties submitted for his decision. The arbitrator must decide the case according to the law. A lay arbitrator may hear the arbitration with a legal assessor. A commercial arbitrator is entitled to rely on his own knowledge and experience and to assess the award. When an award is made it is final. Although an application may be made to the High Court to determine a question of law arising in the course of the arbitration, there is no appeal in respect of the award itself except in limited circumstances, e.g. under the Limitation Act 1979, for judicial review on a question of law.