Competence – competence

Generally accepted principle according to which the arbitrators have jurisdiction to decide on their own jurisdiction when a party to the arbitral proceedings challenges it, without having to suspend the proceedings until a State court determines whether the dispute it to be arbitrated. In its “negative” sense, acknowledged by some national laws only, especially in France, competence-competence further means that the jurisdiction of the arbitrators to decide on their own jurisdiction is exclusive of the jurisdiction of the State court, which, when faced with an arbitral agreement, does not have any jurisdiction either to decide the dispute or to decide on the validity of the agreement unless it is prima facie null and void and cannot be applied. This does not mean that the State court is prevented from ever assessing the validity or the subject matter of the arbitration agreement; but this assessment is postponed until the review of the award in connection with either its enforcement or an action to set it aside.