When one looks over the particulars to be included in a notice for arbitration, they would observe that the particulars are very similar to that of a legal notice. However, it is important to note here that, though the nature of the two documents are similar, they are vastly different documents, and should not be confused as one for the other.
A notice for arbitration is sent when a party wishes to submit the dispute with the other party to arbitration for resolution. Such a notice is different from a legal notice as legal notice is an invitation to resolve a dispute between the parties without involving any other authority, whereas notice to arbitration is the request to commence dispute resolution proceedings through arbitration.
Below are a few elements necessary to be included in a notice for arbitration.
1. Details of the Parties
This is to ensure that the parties to the dispute are identified properly and all the concerned parties are duly made a part of the proceedings.
2. Details of the relationship between the parties.
This generally includes how the parties are associated with each other and lays down the premise to the context of the dispute.
3. Demand for Arbitration
The notice is either invoking an arbitration agreement/clause that the parties have previously agreed to be bound by, or requesting the party to opt for arbitration to resolve the issue between them.
4. The mention of agreement/contract (if any).
It is commonly observed that parties to an agreement include an arbitration clause in their contract, laying down the process of dispute redressal should any arise. A notice for arbitration includes the mention and the necessary details of such a contract/agreement in order to avoid any ambiguity.
5. The mention of already existing arbitration agreement between the parties pursuant to which the concerned notice of arbitration has been sent (if any).
Where the parties signed an arbitration agreement independent of any other contract that they may be party to, it is important to mention the necessary details of such an arbitration agreement.
6. Specifying any amount involved
Like always, money forms an important part of any transaction involved. An arbitration proceedings is no exception. Hence, it is important to properly and certainly specify any and all amounts involved with respect to the dispute between the parties.
7. Remedy sought
This is to signify the intended outcome of the arbitration by the party sending notice of arbitration. This informs the recipient(s) of the intention of the sender with respect to the dispute.
8. Proposed arbitrator(s), venue for arbitration and language for arbitration, if not already decided. If decided, then the mention of the same needs to be included.
Where there exists an arbitration agreement/clause between the parties, the process of appointing the arbitrator, choosing the venue for arbitration and language of such arbitration shall be as per the contract/clause. However, where the parties are yet to mutually decide upon the same, the sender of the notice begins the process of such appointment and decision by proposing names in the notice for arbitration itself.
9. The proposed or already mutually decided procedure of arbitration.
Where the parties have previously mutually decided the procedure for arbitration, whether it be an arbitration agreement or clause, the notice for arbitration mentions the same for clarity and certainty. Where the parties are yet to decide such particulars, the sender for the notice for arbitration begins the process of such decision, by proposing a procedure first.
10. Any concerns, restrictions, rebuttals or other relevant communication regarding the issue or arbitration.
This is to provide all relevant information, concerns and changes that the parties may wish to introduce in the arbitration to resolve their dispute. There may be concerns, restrictions, rebuttals, or other relevant communication due to any reason affecting the contract and/or the dispute, including any change in the surrounding circumstances of the dispute.
11. Mention of the previously conducted meetings for the purpose of dispute resolution between the parties, if any.
It may be possible that the parties tried to first resolve the dispute between themselves before opting for arbitration. It is generally observed in contractual relationships, and especially those contracts which have a “good-faith” clause whereby the parties are bound by the contract to first attempt the resolution of their dispute through good-faith negotiations.
It is hence safe to say that with so many particulars to keep in mind, a notice for arbitration carries significant importance in the dispute resolution process between the parties. It is also difficult to not notice the similarity of the particulars of a notice of arbitration and that of a legal notice. Even so, the two documents are different and significant in their own right and purpose.