Multi Party Disputes : The Joinder of Third Parties to International Arbitration Agreements.
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The issue of multi-party arbitration has become a part of the contemporary jurisprudence on international commercial arbitration. Scholarly conflict has often revolved around the need to balance the doctrine of privity of contract and terms of agreement with the “extension” of the arbitration agreement. This has given rise to the applicability of new principles in determining the scope of the arbitration agreement. The hurdles of a consensual agreement, confidentiality obligations, enforceability and form requirement are often termed as the ‘stumbling blocks’ to the joinder of third parties to an international arbitration agreement. In an era of complex business transactions, the need for efficiency in alternate dispute resolution has time and again encouraged the joining of third parties to the arbitration agreement. This paper is an attempt to bring forward the conceptual nature, purposive interpretation and technicalities involved in third party intervention, extension of the arbitration agreement and joinder of parties. It begins with the conceptual terminology and goes on to discuss at length the legal basis of binding non-signatories, theories of extension to the arbitration agreement under the backdrop of the consent to arbitration per se. The article primarily revolves around the recurrent debate of whether extending the scope of the arbitration agreement is an infringement of the individual contractual rights or an efficacious remedy. This paper encapsulates the jurisprudential principles, model law’s approach, concept of implicit consent, arbitral awards and hindrances as to confidentiality and agreed upon terms by the parties, to explain the very ‘joinder of third parties’.