Once there is an agreement to arbitrate, can either party change their mind and go to court?
Except in unusual cases, the answer to that is “no”. The arbitration agreement is a binding contract between the parties. Where an arbitration agreement exists, the court will almost always decline an attempt by a party to the agreement to take the dispute to court by imposing a “stay” on the Court proceedings.
Can I, or my opponent, make a counterclaim?
Provided that the arbitration agreement gives jurisdiction to the arbitrator in respect of the subject matter of the counterclaim, yes - you or your opponent can make a counterclaim.
What if the other side is represented by counsel from Falcon Chambers?
This may happen sometimes – just as it does in court proceedings, where the Judge or Recorder may be a past or present colleague of counsel appearing for one or both of the parties. The Court of Appeal has said: “it has long been recognised that this, of itself, creates no risk of bias, nor, to those with experience of our system, any appearance of bias” (Smith v. Kvaerner Cementation Foundations Ltd  1 WLR 370). Falcon Chambers Arbitrators are all independent, self-employed, senior practitioners, who are backed by a dedicated and distinct arbitration clerking service (see our Clerking Protocol). You can therefore be absolutely confident that FCA will provide an independent, fair, transparent and dependable service.
Suppose I want an order for security for costs, or some other interim remedy?
Unless the parties agree otherwise, an arbitrator has power to order a claimant to provide some suitable security for the costs of the arbitration. The arbitrator’s powers also extend to making orders for an interim injunction, for the interim appointment of a receiver, and for the inspection and preservation of evidence – in fact, all the usual types of interim remedy you would expect to find if the dispute had gone to court instead.
What final remedies can an arbitrator award?
Again, unless the parties agree otherwise, an arbitrator has a comprehensive range of remedies available to suit the case – including orders for the payment of money, specific performance, injunctions and rectification and rescission of agreements.
What about interest and costs?
An arbitrator’s powers include a power to award simple or compound interest, as the case requires. The arbitrator also has a costs jurisdiction very similar to that of the court (but without the need to costs-budget). The arbitrator will decide who should pay the costs of the arbitration, as well as the amount of those costs, if the parties cannot agree.
How do I enforce an award?
It’s simple. If a losing party refuses to comply with the arbitrator’s award, the winner can go to court and get a “judgment on the award”. The court does not re-hear the issues. Instead, provided the award is not defective in some way, the court will simply make the appropriate order, converting the award into a judgment of the court – with all the usual remedies for enforcement.