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Saturday, February 13, 2016
Saskatchewan Justice

The Arbitration Act, 1992 applies to private arbitrations and other arbitrations that are a condition of a provincial act. It does not apply to:

  • matters of a criminal nature that are not permitted to be submitted to arbitration;
  • labour arbitrations;
  • certain statutory arbitrations; and
  • international commercial arbitrations.

Any dispute between two or more people may be submitted to arbitration by mutual agreement.

Subject to certain exceptions in the Act, the persons involved in an arbitration agreement may expressly or impliedly agree to vary or exclude any provision of the Act to meet their needs. For instance, they may agree on the composition of the arbitration tribunal or to accept the appointment of an arbitrator made by the Court of Queen's Bench.

An arbitral tribunal consisting of at least one arbitrator may rule on its own jurisdiction to conduct the arbitration. The arbitral tribunal may determine any question of law that arises during the arbitration or the Court may do so on the application of the tribunal.

An arbitration agreement may exist independently or it may be part of another agreement. While a submission to arbitration is revocable at any time before the award is made, an agreement may be rescinded only in accordance with the law of contract and upon application to the Court to rescind the agreement.

Grounds for revocation by the Court include:

  • error of law (i.e., that the arbitrator is wrong in point of law);
  • excess or refusal of jurisdiction by the arbitrator;
  • misconduct of the arbitrator -- the arbitrator has a duty to act with fairness and impartiality towards all parties; and
  • disqualification of the arbitrator.

In the course of the arbitration and with the consent of all the people involved, the Court may be asked to determine questions of law or fact or both.

However, the jurisdiction of the Court to intervene is otherwise comparatively restricted. For instance, if a person begins Court proceedings in respect of a matter agreed to be arbitrated, the other person may apply to the Court for a stay of proceedings and the Court must stay the proceedings, subject to specific exceptions such as the legal incapacity of one of the parties or that the arbitration agreement is invalid. A decision of the Court is appealable to the Court of Appeal.

If an application is made to the courts, an arbitration award made in Saskatchewan or elsewhere in Canada is enforceable in the same manner as a judgment.

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