||All England Reporter
|| All ER (D) 209 (Dec)
|| EWHC 2909 (Comm)
||Simon Browne-Wilkinson QC (instructed by DLA) for the applicant.
||Stephen Moverley-Smith QC (instructed by Kerman & Co) for the respondent.
||14 December 2004
Arbitration - Award - Setting aside award - Jurisdiction - Concept of severability - ss 7, 30, 67.
of the Arbitration Act 1996 reflected the concept of severability which had been developed before the Act's inception. Its effect in substance was to confirm that arbitrators had jurisdiction conclusively to determine issues on the voidness or voidability of the matrix contract to the effect that they did not lose jurisdiction by reason only that the matrix contract might be void or voidable. However, s7 left intact the requirement that the arbitration agreement should be valid and binding. If it was not valid and binding for reasons other than the bare fact that the matrix contract was not valid and binding, then s7 did not enable arbitrators to exercise conclusive jurisdiction in respect of any issue relating to the matrix contract. If it was not only in issue whether the matrix contract was void or otherwise non-existent but also whether the arbitration agreement itself was independently void or non-existent, that issue could be determined by the arbitrator, but not conclusively. That was where s30 of the 1996 Act came into play.
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