This chapter considers various “jurisdictional” issues that arise in arbitration hearings. As with civil actions, the principal issues are subject-matter jurisdiction, i.e., does the forum have the power to decide a particular dispute, and personal jurisdiction, i.e., whether the forum has the power to bind a particular party to the proceeding. In judicial forums, these questions are generally resolved by reference to the various constitutional and statutory provisions that create and limit the powers of the court. The obligation to arbitrate, however, arises from the consent of the parties as manifested by an agreement between them. This agreement may be express, as in the case of a written arbitration agreement, or implied, as where a member of FINRA is deemed to have consented to be bound by the FINRA rules. Thus, most of the issues considered in this chapter depend upon the interpretation of a written arbitration agreement or of FINRA’s arbitration rules.
Sections 3.02 and 3.02 infra discuss issues of “personal jurisdiction,” i.e., the question of who is bound to arbitrate a dispute. Chapter 3 also touches upon the issue of subject-matter jurisdiction by discussing the types of disputes arbitral forums may resolve and the forms of relief they may grant. Here, we consider the question of which arbitral forum has the power to hear an arbitral dispute. We also consider a related issue that may be deemed “jurisdictional” in some senses: the question of the statute of limitations applicable in arbitration proceedings.