by John Allen Chalk.
Arbitration begins with a contract, but often does not end there. If one of the parties challenges the arbitration agreement, the court where the arbitration dispute lands must first address whether a valid arbitration agreement exists. If the answer is yes, then the court must assess whether the asserted claims are within the scope of the agreement. These two questions can both open the door for courts to decide that more is on the arbitration table than one, or both, of the parties thought. John Chalk walks through the issues that can arise.