ARBITRATION PURSUANT TO AN ARBITRATION AGREEMENT : Jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal
Competence of tribunal to rule on its own jurisdiction
30 . –
(1) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the arbitral tribunal may rule on its own substantive jurisdiction, that is, as to –
(a) whether there is a valid arbitration agreement,
(b) whether the tribunal is properly constituted, and
(c) what matters have been submitted to arbitration in accordance with the arbitration agreement.
(2) Any such ruling may be challenged by any available arbitral process of appeal or review or in accordance with the provisions of this Part.
Jurisdiction is peculiarly affected by the fact that arbitration is a creature of contract. Section 30 sets out two principles of English law which affect jurisdiction in the context of arbitration. The first is the right (unless removed by agreement of the parties) of the tribunal to consider its own jurisdiction (section 30(1)). The second is the fact that any such ruling is subject to the ultimate say of the court (section 30(2)). Both of these principles might be the subject of an essay in their own right. Both, however, have given rise to many problems and questions, beginning with precisely how we define the word ‘jurisdiction’.
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