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Arbitration agreements

Validity
What are the validity requirements for an arbitration agreement?

Pursuant to Article 10 of the Arbitration Act, an arbitration agreement may be concluded either before the emergence of a dispute or thereafter. If the arbitration agreement is concluded after the dispute has arisen, it must provide for the matters that are to be referred to arbitration in order to be valid. Article 10 further provides that an arbitration agreement may also be included in a contract by way of reference to another document containing that arbitration agreement, provided that this reference is explicit in considering the arbitration agreement part of the contract.

Article 11 states that arbitration agreements may be concluded only by persons (natural or legal) that have the legal capacity to dispose of their rights.

Article 12 requires arbitration agreements to be in writing and states that an arbitration agreement is considered to be in writing if its content is recorded in a document signed by the parties or in any other form of written communication.

However, Article 1 of the Arbitration Act states that arbitration agreements in administrative contracts must be approved by the relevant minister or official assuming his or her powers.

Enforcement of agreements
How are arbitration agreements enforced in your jurisdiction? What is the attitude of the national courts towards arbitration agreements?

Arbitration agreements are enforced in accordance with Article 13 of the Arbitration Act, which provides that a domestic court seized of a claim which is subject to an arbitration agreement must dismiss the claim as inadmissible.

Article 2 of Decree 19/1959 also incorporates Article 2 of the New York Convention on the enforceability of arbitration agreements into Egyptian law. 

Consolidation
Can an arbitral tribunal with its seat in your jurisdiction consolidate separate arbitral proceedings under one or more contracts, and, if so, in what circumstances?

The Arbitration Act contains no specific provisions on the consolidation of separate arbitral proceedings.

Choice of law
How is the substantive law of the dispute determined? Where the substantive law is unclear, how will a tribunal determine what it should be?

Article 39 of the Arbitration Act provides that the arbitral tribunal must apply the rules chosen by the parties to the substance of the dispute. If the parties agree on the applicability of the law of a given state, only its substantive rules will be applied, to the exclusion of any conflict of law rules, unless otherwise agreed.

If the parties have not agreed on the legal rules to be applied, the arbitral tribunal will apply the substantive rules of the law that it considers most closely connected to the dispute.

Article 39 further provides that when adjudicating the merits of the dispute, the arbitral tribunal must observe the terms of the contract and the applicable customs. It also adds that the arbitral tribunal may act as an amiable compositeur (ie, decide the dispute on the basis of equity and fairness) on the express authorisation of the parties.

Separability
Are there any provisions on the separability of arbitration agreements?

Article 23 of the Arbitration Act provides for the separability of arbitration agreements and expressly states that the nullity, rescission or termination of a contract will not affect the arbitration agreement, provided that the arbitration agreement is itself valid.

Multiparty agreements
Are multiparty agreements recognised?

Article 4 of the Arbitration Act defines ‘the two parties to the arbitration’ as referring to “the parties to the arbitration, whatever their number may be”.

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