Paul Friedland is a Partner at White & Case LLP and Chair of the firm's International Arbitration Practice Group. Mr. Friedland was Chair of the Task Force that developed the recent "IBA Guidelines for Drafting International Arbitration Clauses." Mr. Friedland is Chair of the Law Committee and a Member of the Board of Directors of the AAA and a Court Member of the LCIA.
When parties to multiple, related contracts want to provide for consolidation of not-yet-arisen related disputes, three main complexities arise:
(i) All related contracts must have identical or complementary arbitration clauses. While courts in certain jurisdictions have discretion to order consolidation of related arbitrations, they will not do so where the parties have provided for inconsistent arbitration proceedings,
(ii) The parties must provide a procedure for consolidation, taking account of a wide range of circumstances, including the risk of multiple and overlapping proceedings commenced under multiple contracts before multiple arbitral tribunals.
(iii) When, as is often the case, the related contracts involve more than two parties, the parties must account for the multi-party situation.