Washington Law Review


A review of the case law and statutes of the state of Washington relating to arbitration points up several issues which are of importance to those who may become concerned with arbitrations in the state of either commercial or labor controversies. Some of these issues result from the views which were advanced by the supreme court relating to the arbitration statute of 1881. These issues are still open, although that statute was repealed by the present act, which was originally enacted in 1943. Other uncertainties inhere in the views which have been advanced by the court since the enactment of the present arbitration statute, and still others relate to the intent of the statute after the 1947 amendment of the first section. These matters of uncertainty are bound to plague any lawyer who is called upon to advise any client whether or not to enter upon any arbitration agreement or upon any arbitration. And in the case of employees (or their union) and employers who would agree upon grievance machinery and arbitration provisions in their collective agreements, there is question whether or not their agreement or any arbitrations or awards thereunder will be honored by the courts. These questions may be summarized as follows: 1. Does the present arbitration statute operate to exclude common law arbitration, or may the parties elect to arbitrate under the statute or at common law? 2. May employers and their employees (or their unions) qualify their agreements for grievance procedures and arbitration under the present statute? What are the consequences of their arbitration agreements and any arbitrations and awards thereunder?

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