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13 Arbitration

Enforcement of Maritime Claims



13.1 Arbitration clauses are commonplace in maritime contracts.1 Subject to statutory limitations it is always open to parties to a dispute to agree to submit that dispute to an arbitration rather than a court either when the dispute occurs or prior to it—preferring a decision making process partly at least in the hands of non-lawyers, confidential2 and arguably less costly and more speedy. In English law, as is seen in Chapter 12, an arbitration agreement can form the basis for the stay of court proceedings commenced contrary to it or an injunction to restrain a party from foreign proceedings contrary to it. Such an agreement is a contract enforceable through the courts as such but with a superimposed statutory framework applicable to it through the Arbitration Act 1996. An arbitration agreement is not a ground for refusal to issue a claim form in legal proceedings contrary to it. It is a ground for stay of those proceedings (see infra ).

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