Relationship between arbitration and judicial proceedings

The relationship between arbitration and judicial proceedings was the topic of a ruling of the Italian Supreme Court (order no. 783 of 19 January 2016 of the III Civil Chamber, Italian text available here). In this ruling, the Supreme Court came to the right conclusion that it is not allowed to order the stay of proceedings pending before a Court while awaiting the decision in proceedings pending before an Arbitral Tribunal. However, the Supreme Court’s reasoning is not entirely correct. This is the reason why I would like to briefly discuss its ruling.

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Optional arbitration

An arbitration clause stipulates that all the disputes arising out of the agreement may be referred to an Arbitral Tribunal. Is that an optional arbitration, in the sense that the claimant may choose between the Court and the Arbitral Tribunal? Does the jurisdiction exclusively rest with the Arbitral Tribunal? Or is it a void or ineffective arbitration clause?

I already talked about this issue in this article, when analysing an order rendered by the Court of first instance of Milan. Recent rulings of the I Civil Chamber of the Court of Appeal of Bologna (decision no. 1884 of 12 November 2015, Italian text available here) and the VI Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court (decision no. 22039 of 28 October 2015, Italian text available here) have shed light on this issue again.

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