Consolidated Arbitration - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 52, No. 1
The author is the general counsel of the American Arbitration Association. This paper was originally presented at the International Law Association 67th Conference held August 11-17, 1996, in Helsinki, Finland. The assistance of Julie A. Klein in the preparation of the paper is gratefully acknowledged.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
Multiparty contracts and even multicontract business arrangements frequently lead to multiple unforeseen problems when disputes arise. Three issues predominate, says the author: Will an arbitration agreement be enforced when some of the parties are not bound to arbitrate? Should there be joinder of the parties and consolidation of the claims, and how may this be effected? How will procedural matters, such as arbitrator selection, be handled under such complex circumstances? Michael F. Hoellering offers a comprehensive examination of the relevant court perspective on these and related issues.
The majority of arbitrations involve two parties and are governed by one contract with one arbitration clause. At the same time, however, arbitration encompasses the resolution of multiparty disputes, arising in the context of the more complex international transactions, in the maritime, insurance and construction fields, and where buyers and retailers operate as a chain. In some such controversies the parties will all be signatories to the contract(s) containing an arbitration clause which outlines the procedures for each party to follow should a dispute arise. More often different contracts will be involved, the arbitration provisions will not be integrated, and certainly the parties will not have the same interests at stake.