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Arbitration clause – whether the use of “may” requires mutual consent to refer to arbitration

The Facts                               

A Shareholders’ Agreement contained the following arbitration clause:

This agreement shall be construed in accordance with English Law, without reference to its conflict of law principles. If a dispute arises out of or relates to this agreement or its breach (whether contractual or otherwise) and the dispute cannot be settled within twenty business days through negotiation, any party may submit the dispute to binding arbitration. Such arbitration will be conducted by a sole arbitrator designated by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and will be in accordance with the ICC’s Arbitration Rules…

Upon a dispute arising, one of the two shareholders commenced litigation. The other applied for a stay without itself submitting the dispute to the ICC.


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Charter Party Casebook