What is an arbitration agreement?
- Arbitration agreement means an agreement by the parties to submit to arbitration all or certain disputes which have arisen or which may arise between them in respect of a defined legal relationship whether contractual or not.
- The parties make an agreement that instead of going to the court, they shall refer the dispute to arbitration.
- The arbitration agreement may be in the form of an arbitration clause in a contract or in the form of a separate agreement. Where an arbitration clause is included in a contract and the contract is avoided due to misrepresentation or fraud, the arbitration clause may still continue to be binding.
- Where, however, there was no contract at all between the parties or contract was void ab initio , the arbitration clause cannot be enforced.
- An arbitration agreement/clause must be in writing. Although no formal document is prescribed, however, it must be clear from the document that the parties had agreed to the settlement of dispute through arbitration.
- Where the arbitration agreement or clause is contained in a document, the parties must sign the document. Besides, the arbitration agreement may be established by-
- an exchange of letters, telex, telegram or other means of telecommunication; or
- an exchange of stateme nt.