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An Arbitration Agreement-Simplified

Arbitration is an adjudicatory dispute resolution process by a neutral third party, governed by the provisions of The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (The Act).
 
 Arbitrations, largely, arise out of contractual relationship between the parties, although it extends to other legal relationships as well.
 
 The Act clarifies that there can be a submission of dispute to Arbitration only when there is an ‘arbitration agreement’ between the parties. An arbitration agreement, simply put, is an agreement whereby parties agree to submit the disputes between them to arbitration, rather than approaching the courts of law.
 
 An arbitration agreement may be concluded as a clause within a contract or as a separate agreement; former being the widely practiced form.
 
It is pertinent to note that although arbitration clause is a part of the contract, the Separability, Severability or Autonomy of the arbitration clause makes it distinct and independent from the underlying contract. In the event of any dispute, the arbitrator so appointed is competent to separate the arbitration clause from the underlying contract, and decide the issue.

Principally, the separability of the arbitration clause ensures that arbitral proceedings are continued, even though the contract is found to be null and void.
 
 Party autonomy is the golden thread that runs across the whole institution of arbitration, whereby parties are free to include any term, agree to the law which would govern their agreement, agree to the kind of disputes which they would submit to arbitration and appoint an arbitrator of their choice who has a particular expertise or better serves the nature of the case.
 
Significantly, the intention of the parties to resolve disputes by way of arbitration and the manner in which it is to be conducted must be manifest in the agreement. In conspectus of the above, a carefully drafted arbitration clause is an effective and efficient departure from courtroom litigation which saves one time and cost and at the same time ensures that the dispute in question is resolved by professionals and experts.

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