Arbitration - when 'may' means 'must'

For an arbitration clause to result in disputes ending up in a confidential and flexible arbitration rather than at court, it is best to provide for arbitration to be compulsory – not optional as the word ‘may’ suggests.

That remains the case, but the Privy Council has recently given arbitration the benefit of the doubt.

In the recent case Anzen Ltd and others v Hermes One Ltd [2016] UKPC 1, the parties had entered into a shareholders’ agreement which provided, as far as disputes were concerned, that ‘any party may submit the dispute to binding arbitration’. It also specified ICC arbitration in London before a sole arbitrator.

Catherine Penny, senior associate in the dispute resolution department at Stevens & Bolton LLP, looks into this case further in an article published in the Law Society Gazette.

To read the article in full, please click here.

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Catherine Penny

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