The question of jurisdiction over arbitrability issues has long plagued most arbitrators, for on frequent occasions their authority to rule on a particular issue has been challenged by one of the parties to an arbitration agreement. The reason for this is that there have always been two forums where the issue of arbitrability could be raised. One is the Courts, and the other is the arbitration hearing. Through the years, each has established its own concepts for the resolution of the arbitrability issue, and inevitably these concepts have come into conflict.
The purpose of this article is to examine the nature of the arbitrability issue, the criteria established by the Courts for determining the arbitrator's rights to rule on arbitrability, and the areas of overlapping jurisdiction which continue to create conflicts and questions respecting the authority of arbitrators in matters relating to arbitrability. It is the hope that this examination will demonstrate that arbitration is the more suitable forum for the resolution of most of these questions.