The Hague Court Of Arbitration For Aviation

The Hague Court of Arbitration for Aviation ("Hague CAA") was launched in 2022 as a neutral and private dispute resolution process for commercial and private aviation sectors.
Ireland Transport
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The Hague Court of Arbitration for Aviation ("Hague CAA") was launched in 2022 as a neutral and private dispute resolution process for commercial and private aviation sectors. The Hague CAA process provides our clients with practical and flexible arbitration and mediation solutions to disputes within the global aviation industry. On the eve of the inaugural Hague CAA conference, proudly sponsored by Flynn O'Driscoll, we look at the construction of the Court and how it operates.

The Hague CAA aims to have these arbitration and mediation processes written into contracts between parties as the agreed authority for resolving any disputes that may arise. Provided both parties sign up to the process and agree to be bound by its outcomes, the Hague CAA can arbitrate on any dispute. The voluntary nature of arbitration emanates from the contractual agreement of the parties, but is regulated and enforced by national laws.

Cases heard in the Hague CAA will be administered by the Netherlands Arbitration Institute ("NAI") and will be presided over by an independent specialist arbitrator. According to the rules of the Hague CAA, "any natural person of legal capacity may be appointed as arbitrator". The arbitrator must be qualified to practice law and must have demonstrated experience sitting as an arbitrator. Where only one arbitrator is being appointed, the parties may do so jointly and notify the administrator of the details of the appointed arbitrator. Parties may set out qualifications for an arbitrator, such as industry knowledge, to ensure that a tribunal will have a sufficient understanding of the subject matter being disputed.

How will the Hague CAA be enforced?

Although the current NAI Arbitration Rules offer a single recommended arbitration clause text, the Hague CAA offers two types of recommended model clauses: one for future disputes and one for existing disputes. The Hague CAA can therefore be used for aviation disputes which relate to a contract concluded prior to the launch of the institution.

The administrator of the Hague CAA can determine the number of arbitrators and place of arbitration if the parties have not already agreed on the clauses of the model arbitration agreement. The agreement can also include:

  • Law Applicable to the Arbitration Agreement;
  • Substantive Law Governing the Merits of the Dispute; and
  • Language of the Arbitration

In circumstances where the parties have already entered into agreements with dispute resolution clauses, the Hague CAA offers a mode amendment agreement to enable the parties to refer their disputes to arbitration in accordance with the rules of the Hague CAA.

The Hague CAA in practice

Arbitration shall be commenced by submitting a request for arbitration to the administrator. Arbitration shall be deemed to have been commenced on the day of receipt of the request for the arbitration by the administrator.

The number of arbitrators to be appointed must be agreed between the parties. If a tribunal consisting of three arbitrators must be appointed, the claimant and respondent shall each appoint an arbitrator, stating the relevant details to the administrator, and the two arbitrators appointed by the claimant and respondent will then jointly appoint a chair of the arbitral tribunal, providing the relevant details to the administrator.

If no arbitrator is appointed by the parties, then the administrator will provide the parties with a list of approved arbitrators (when one arbitrator is required; the list will contain at least three names, and when three arbitrators are required; the list will contain at least nine names), whereby the parties will select the arbitrator(s) from the designated list.

It should be noted that if a tribunal consisting of three arbitrators must be appointed in arbitration proceedings between parties that do not have the same nationality, each of the parties may require that the chair shall not have the same nationality as any of the parties by giving notice to the administrator.

The appointment of the arbitrator(s) shall take place within three months of the commencement of the arbitration proceedings.

How FOD can help

Parties involved in aviation arbitration disputes in the Hague CAA or wishing to include this dispute resolution mechanism in their contracts, should reach out to members of the Aviation and Asset Finance Team for expert advice.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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