Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): Arbitration Part III – Arbitration Process

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What Process Does An Arbitration Follow?

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The steps in the arbitration process, requirements and time periods for each will generally be determined by the rules of the arbitration body or institution.

The parties to the dispute can make proposals in relation to the place, language and applicable law.for the conduct of the arbitration.

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The main procedural steps for an arbitration are as follows:

Step 1 – Request for Arbitration

To commence an arbitration, a party (Claimant) must submit a written Request for Arbitration (Request) to the appropriate arbitration body or institution. The institution’s rules will specify the required content for such a request which will include a description of the dispute and relief sought as well as party arbitrator nominations together with supporting papers required (eg copy of arbitration agreement).

The Request may also include a Statement of Claim (Claim) together with proposals relating to place, language and applicable law.

The Request must also be accompanied by the required registration fee otherwise the request will be deemed invalid.

The date that the request is received usually determines the date upon which proceedings have commenced.

On receipt of the Request, the institution will forward a copy to the Respondent.

Step 2 – Answer to the Request & Counter-claims

The Respondent will have a period of time (normally capable of extension) from receipt of the Request within which to submit an Answer to the Request (Answer) and may, at the same time, submit a Counter-claim. The institution’s rules will set out the required content for the Answer (including preliminary comments on the dispute and relief sought as well as arbitrator nominations). The Answer should also contain any objection to the validity of the arbitration agreement and comments on the Claimant’s proposals relating to place, language and applicable law.

If the Request included a Claim then the Answer may be accompanied by a Statement of Defence (Defence). In addition, the Answer may also be accompanied by a Counter-claim (to include a description of the dispute and relief sought) and, if a Counter-claim is made, then this must be accompanied by the required registration fee to be valid.

On receipt of the Answer, the institution will forward a copy to the Claimant who will be provided with the opportunity to comment on ‘objections or pleas’ made by the Respondent.

Step 3 – Statement of Claim

Unless submitted with the Request, the Claimant will have a period of time from notification of establishment of the Tribunal to submit a Statement of Claim to the institution. The required content will be specified by the arbitrating body which will include a comprehensive statement of facts and legal arguments supporting the Claim together with relief sought.

Step 4 – Statement of Defence

The Respondent will be required to submit a Statement of Defence within a specified period from receipt of the Statement of Claim or notification of establishment of the Tribunal. The required content will be specified by the arbitrating body which will include any Counter-claim.

Step 5 – Further Written Statements

The Tribunal will have discretion to allow further written statements to be submitted allowing each party time to consider and respond to further arguments. If a Counter-claim is submitted by the Respondent, the Claimant will have a time period within which to respond.

Step 6 – Hearing

Either party may request that a hearing be held to enable oral arguments to be made and/or witness (including expert witness) evidence to be considered.

Step 7 – Closure of Proceedings

An Arbitrator or Tribunal will close proceedings only when satisfied that the parties have had adequate opportunity to present submissions and evidence.

Step 8 – The Award

The Arbitrator or Tribunal will be required to make its final Award within a specific time period from the date that the Arbitrator or Tribunal Chairman receives the file. The period may be extended by the Arbitrator/Tribunal or by the arbitrating institution.

The parties may also agree to adjust the time limits for the Award.

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