Arbitration Agreement Need Not Be Signed

Following an analysis by the governing authorities, the Tribunal was satisfied that there was a presumption that if the parties included a compromise clause, it was considered that they intended to resolve all of their material disputes through arbitration. The Tribunal found that the arbitration clause provides that “any litigation” is referred to arbitration proceedings and that it was broad enough to address all issues raised between the parties during the proceedings in their current history. If the parties intended to refer some disputes to arbitration, but others would have been the subject of legal proceedings, they would have said so in the contract. In light of the above, it appears that this case has taken a pro-arbitration approach and, as such, can make a positive contribution to the existing jurisprudence on India`s arbitration regulation. The Court focused on the conduct and intent of the parties, referring to the unsigned BOL, which indicated that there was an arbitration agreement between them. This approach by the Tribunal can set a precedent for reducing the flexibility of parties trying to waive their contractual obligations. However, it is also possible to argue that the absence of a party`s signature under a contract contains solid evidence of that party`s lack of consent to the agreement and, therefore, of the compromise clause it contains. On July 12, 2018, Simmons signed an arbitration agreement referring to the agreement between it and SKEPOA, “the mutual desire of the parties to enter into the [a]greasing” and the parties` agreement to settle all disputes, claims and controversies. The arbitration agreement envisaged the signing of both parties, which would demonstrate recognition of the receipt of each party. Simmons signed his acknowledgment on July 12, 2018, but not SKEPOA. The court was satisfied that all of these criteria were in place, which meant that the clause was an effective compromise clause.

However, the court had to decide on the meaning of the phrase “both parties, by mutual agreement, to dismiss any dispute.” The defendant argued that this meant that the parties had already reached an agreement or “mutual consent” and had already decided, through the contract entered into by them, to refer “any dispute” that might arise between them for arbitration. It considered that as soon as the contract, which contained a compromise clause, was concluded, the parties had given “mutual consent”.