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Model arbitration clauses

An arbitral tribunal can only act with legal effect if the parties have agreed to refer disputes to it. This should already be done at the contract signing, since it is difficult to agree on an arbitration institution or on an "ad hoc" proceeding once a dispute has arisen.

To do so, the parties must incorporate appropriate arbitration clauses into their contracts. But such clauses may be impaired by defects – for instance they may not specify sufficiently clearly to which arbitral tribunal disputes shall be referred.

It is therefore urgently recommended, to use the model clauses from a recognized arbitration institution. The following are listed as examples:

  • Model clause of the the Frankfurt am Main Chamber of Industry and Commerce (www.frankfurt-main.ihk.de)
    "All disputes arising in connection with the contract [... description of the contract ... ] or its validity shall be finally settled in accordance with the Arbitration Rules of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Frankfurt am Main (IHK Frankfurt am Main) without recourse to the ordinary courts of law."

  • Model clause of the the Court of Arbitration of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce (www.hk24.de)
    Any dispute arising in connection with the present contract […exact description of the Contract…] or with respect to its validity shall be finally settled by the Court of Arbitration of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, to the exclusion of the ordinary courts of law. The substantive law of ––– shall be applicable to such dispute."
  • Model clause of the Munich Chamber of Industry and Commerce (www.muenchen.ihk.de)
    "All disputes arising from the contract (… exact description of contract …) including its validity shall be finally settled according to the Arbitration Rules of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Munich and Upper Bavaria (IHK München) without recourse to the ordinary courts of law."

  • Model clause of the German Institution of Arbitration (www.dis-arb.de)
    "All disputes arising in connection with this contract or its validity shall be finally settled in accordance with the Arbitration Rules of the German Institution of Arbitration (DIS) without recourse to the ordinary courts of law."

  • Model clause of the German Maritime Arbitration Association (www.gmaa.de)
    "All disputes arising out of or in connection with this Contract or its validity shall be finally settled by arbitration in accordance with the Arbitration Rules of the German Maritime Arbitration Association (GMAA) current at the time when the arbitration proceedings are commenced."

Specifically to cross-border contracts the following aspects should be added:

  • The place of arbitration is ...
  • The number of arbitrators is ...
  • The language of the arbitral proceedings is ...
  • The applicable substantive law is ...

Other model clauses

Aside from the clauses listed above, many institutions offer model clauses that address particular legal issues. First to be named here are the members of the world-wide network of German Bi-National Chambers of Commerce Abroad (Deutsche Auslandshandelskammern), with 140 locations in 92 countries, which administer arbitration proceedings in many locations throughout the world.

For disputes involving company law, ownership of residential apartments or probate matters, reference is also made specifically to the model clauses of the Schlichtungs- und Schiedsgerichtshof Deutscher Notare (Mediation and Arbitral Panel of German Civil Law Notaries) at www.dnotv.de.