BY: ISAAC, OKORONKWO .C.
This paper seeks to look into the issues concerning arbitration agreement under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act (ACA). It identifies the categories, forms, parties and highlights of the arbitration agreement. It also examines the enforcement of an arbitration agreement. This paper reveals that arbitration is a major attraction as being the most flexible way of settling dispute. Thus, it was suggested that arbitration agreement is a vital component of an arbitration proceedings.
Arbitration has continued to maintain the lead as the preferred mechanism for resolution of domestic and international business disputes in the Nigerian legal system. An arbitration agreement means a voluntary agreement to submit to arbitration present or future disputes, “whether contractual or not”. It is clear; therefore, that a claim in tort or fraud may be the subject matter of an arbitration agreement (Udechukwu, 2008). An arbitration agreement can be included in the original or be in the form of a separate agreement, either at the time of the contract or subsequently. Therefore, even in the absence of an original integrated arbitration clause the parties can still decide to settle a presently existing dispute by arbitration.
The arbitration agreement is the document, which is normally in writing containing details about the reference of the disputes for resolution by the arbitrators. It is an agreement on paper containing information signed by the parties; containing and providing records of the arbitration agreement (Oyegbile, 2000). It is a very important document guiding the entire process of arbitration. It also includes any reference in a contract to a document containing an arbitration clause which constitutes an arbitration agreement if such contract is in writing and the reference is such as to make that clause part of the contract.
Unless a contrary intention is expressed in the arbitration agreement, it shall be irrevocable except:- i. By agreement of the parties
ii. By leave of the court or a Judge
iii. Even, the occurrence of death of either of the parties does not automatically revoke the arbitration agreement. Rather, it shall be enforceable by or against the personal representatives of the deceased. In the past, arbitration agreement could be in oral but the present arbitration act only recognized written agreement to arbitrate. The implication of this is that only written agreements are enforceable by the courts or Judge. 1.1
AIM AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of this work is to provide information on arbitration agreement under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act (ACA) CAP A18 2004. To achieve the above aim, the specific objectives are to:
* Identify the categories of arbitration agreement
* Examine the enforcement of the arbitration agreement
* Identify parties to the arbitration agreements
* Identify the major highlight of Arbitration and Conciliation Act (ACA).
CATEGORIES OF ARBITRATION AGREEMENTS
There are two basic types of agreement:  the arbitration clause and  the submission agreement. An arbitration clause looks to the future, whereas a submission agreement looks to the past. The first, which is most common, is usually contained in the principal agreement between the parties and is an agreement to submit future disputes to arbitration. The second is an agreement to submit existing disputes to arbitration.
Arbitration clauses are usually short, whilst submission agreements are usually long. This is not because of any particular legal requirement. It is simply a reflection of the practicalities of the situation. An arbitration clause that deals with disputes which may arise in the future does not usually go into much detail, since it is not known what kind of disputes will arise and how they should best be handled. Indeed, although the parties to a contract may agree to an...
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