I. INTRODUCTION: DIFFERENT HYPOTHESES FOR THIRD-PARTY INTERVENTION
Third-party intervention in arbitration can take different forms. It is therefore important to make certain distinctions.1
If one considers the rules of civil procedure before state courts, one generally distinguishes forced intervention (e.g., thirdparty notice, where a party to the arbitration wishes to attract a third party into the arbitration to raise claims against it) from voluntary intervention. Voluntary intervention may be resorted to when a third party has personal interests in proceedings between other parties and wishes to intervene in these proceedings to seek its own relief. Voluntary intervention may also take the form of a third party intervening in proceedings merely to support the case of one of the parties; if so, the intervening “party” does not become a party proper to the proceedings and is not bound by the decision made vis-à-vis the parties (i.e., there is no res judicata effect).
The issue of third-party intervention in a dispute arises especially in multiparty disputes, notably in construction law when an owner sues a general contractor and when the general contractor in turn wishes to sue its sub-contractor. The contractual nature of arbitration poses serious difficulties since it is legally delicate to draw a third party into arbitration proceedings. By definition, a third-party is not a party to the arbitration proceedings. By definition, a third-party is not a party to the arbitration agreement between the parties to the initial contract.