London Maritime Arbitration

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The arbitration agreement

A. Introduction

4.1 Arbitration is a method of dispute resolution which is justified by and dependent upon the existence of an agreement between the parties. An agreement to arbitrate may take many different forms. In maritime contracts such as charterparties, the agreement to refer disputes to arbitration is usually contained in a written arbitration clause, often in a standard printed form contract. Usual principles of contract law are relevant to the validity and effect of an arbitration agreement. However, the effect of a London arbitration clause will also be affected by the Arbitration Act 1996 and also by the particular principles of the common law which have developed in relation to arbitration agreements. This should not be regarded as an unacceptable derogation from the parties’ choice: by specifying arbitration in London the parties must be regarded as having impliedly accepted the supplementing provisions of English law, and in particular the 1996 Act.1 4.2 This chapter will consider those rules of English law (statutory and common law) which relate to arbitration agreements. The question of whether the arbitration agreement is one which is governed by English law or foreign law raises questions of the conflict of laws which are considered in .

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B. Types of arbitration agreement

4.3 Section 6(1) of the 1996 Act contains the following definition of an arbitration agreement:

In this Part an “arbitration agreement” means an agreement to submit to arbitration present or future disputes (whether they are contractual or not).

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