The Statutory Framework
Arbitration has a long tradition in Ireland. Its current modern legislative framework is supported by the courts which will intervene only as required. When the courts do become involved, the process is streamlined with all arbitration matters being dealt with by the High Court from which there is no appeal. This article outlines the principal features of the Arbitration Act, 2010.
Legislation: The Act and the Model Law
The legislation which governs all arbitrations in Ireland, both domestic and international, is the Arbitration Act 2010 ("the Act") (link). The Act incorporates the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration ("the Model Law") into Irish law, subject to the specific provisions of the Act. In addition, Ireland is a signatory to the New York, Geneva and Washington Conventions.
The Act does not apply to an arbitration relating to terms and conditions of employment or remuneration of employees or to arbitrations under the Industrial Relations Act, 1964 or to arbitrations under the Property Values (Arbitration and Appeals) Act, 1960.
The arbitration agreement
An arbitration agreement must be in writing, recorded in any form (including electronic communication). An arbitration agreement may be found in an arbitration clause in a contract or in a separate agreement. The applicable law is that decided by the parties and may be found in the choice of law provisions in the contract. In the absence of a choice of law by the parties, the arbitral tribunal must apply such conflicts of law rules as it considers applicable.
An arbitration agreement is not discharged by the death of any party, and it will be enforceable by or against the personal representatives of the deceased. The authority of an arbitral tribunal is not revoked by the death of any party by whom it was appointed.
In accordance with the Model Law, an arbitral tribunal may rule on its own jurisdiction and an arbitration clause is treated as an agreement, independent of the other terms of a contract.
Where, in legal proceedings relief by way of interpleader1 is granted by a court, and it appears to the court that the issue between the claimants is one in respect of which there is an arbitration agreement, then the court must direct that the issue between the claimants be determined in accordance with the arbitration agreement unless the court finds that it is null and void, inoperative or incapable of being performed.
Commencement of arbitration
Arbitral proceedings are deemed to commence on the date on which the parties provided in the arbitration agreement or where no...