Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Arbitration Act Definition:

A statute that sets out default terms for the conduct of arbitration between parties to a dispute.

Related Terms: Arbitration, Arbitrator

To encourage the resolution of disputes outside of the traditional court system, which costs the state money and which is often rough and ready justice to the litigants, many jurisdictions have enacted general arbitration laws, usually called Arbitration Act, in which is set out a comprenhensive code of arbitration terms.

Chapter 9 of the United States Code is dedicated to as the title indicates: Arbitration.

Typically, the parties to an agreement to arbitrate, aka an arbitration agreement, will incorporate the terms of the general arbitration statute by reference. Some jurisdictions allow participants in arbitration to opt out of all or any of the default statutory provision. Other jurisdictions set out a limited number of mandatory terms from which arbitration participants cannot opt out, and then set out a futher set of terms for which the parties may opt-out.

Another effect of most arbitration acts is to prevent participants in arbitration to frustrate arbitration by seeking the interference of the court. For example, this is the staement of principle of the British Arbitration Act:

"The provisions of this Part are founded on the following principles, and shall be construed accordingly:

• The object of arbitration is to obtain the fair resolution of disputes by an impartial tribunal without unnecessary delay or expense;

• The parties should be free to agree how their disputes are resolved, subject only to such safeguards as are necessary in the public interest; (and)

• In matters governed by this Part the court should not intervene except as provided by this Part."


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