Law at the Seat

The seat of Arbitration is a critical aspect of any Arbitration proceeding. The seat not just decides the area of hearings and accessibility of mediators for arbitration of the dispute, yet additionally figures out which court will practice administrative jurisdiction over the whole proceeding.

Considering so much has been composed on ‘seat’ and ‘venue’ of intervention proceedings, and questions concerning selective administrative jurisdiction of the court at the seat have emerged, it is intriguing to take note of that the Act characterizes not the ‘seat’, but rather the ‘place’ of Arbitration. Section 20, being the applicable arrangement, is cited herein below for prepared reference:

Place of Arbitration — (1) The parties are free to agree on the place of Arbitration.

(2) Failing any agreement alluded to in sub-section (1), the place of Arbitration will be dictated by the arbitral tribunal having respect to the conditions of the case, including the comfort of the parties.

(3) Notwithstanding sub-section (1) or sub-section (2), the arbitral tribunal may, except if in any case agreed by the parties, meet at any place it considers fitting for consultation among its members, for hearing witnesses, experts or the parties, or for inspection of documents, goods or other property 1.

It is settled law that there is just one “place” of Arbitration. This will be the place picked by or on behalf of the parties; and it will be designated in the Arbitration agreement or the terms of the reference or the minutes of proceedings or in some alternate manner as the place or “seat” of the assertion.

This doesn’t mean, nonetheless, that the arbitral tribunal should hold every one of its gatherings or hearings at the place of assertion. As International business arbitration2 regularly affects individuals of various identities, it is frequently the case that the assertion hearings are held in places other than the designated place of Arbitration. In such conditions, each move of the arbitral tribunal doesn’t intend to be a change in the seat of assertion. The seat of the Arbitration stays the place at first agreed by or on behalf of the parties’ seat of arbitration is a significant facet of any arbitration proceeding. The seat not only determines the location of hearings and availability of arbitrators for adjudication of the dispute, but also determines which court shall exercise supervisory jurisdiction over the entire proceeding. In the wake of controversies regarding the choice of seat of arbitration, this article discusses and analyses the recent judicial trend concerning law and the jurisdiction of the court at the seat of arbitration in the backdrop of the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

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