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1.> What is the difference between arbitration proceedings and conciliation?
In arbitration proceedings the arbitral tribunal decides definitively and in a binding manner on a dispute. Within a conciliation, the conciliator, after having heard the parties, will produce a (written) proposal how the dispute should be settled amicably; the parties are free to accept or refuse the proposal. If the parties do not agree to the proposal of the conciliator, the conciliation procedure stops without a result having been produced and the claimant has to decide whether or not to commence fresh proceedings (depending upon the agreement either before an arbitral tribunal or a state court). The GMAA offers Rules for both types of proceedings. In practice, however, the GMAA arbitration proceedings are almost always chosen because in Germany, in contrast to Common Law countries – in particular England and the USA, an attempt at conciliation forms part of the arbitration proceedings (§ 13 Arbitration Rules).
2. What is the difference between conciliation and mediation?
Whereas a conciliator submits an own suggestion for an amicable settlement to the parties, the mediator just organises a structured and focussed discussion enabling the parties to find their own solution and a sustainable and appropriate agreement.
3. What types of dispute can be brought before a GMAA arbitral tribunal?
Mostly the parties to GMAA arbitration proceedings are in dispute over claims arising from a charter party, for example entries in the final hire statement. However, cargo claims under bills of lading, volume contracts, ship sales and ship construction and repair contracts are often subject to GMAA arbitration. In general in every contract it is possible to agree upon the competence of a GMAA arbitral tribunal.
4. What do I have to do in order to commence arbitration proceedings?

The arbitration proceedings commence with the appointment of an arbitrator by the claimant (see § 4 Arbitration Rules), providing the respondent with the corresponding information and the request to the respondent to appoint its choice of arbitrator.

5. Do I have to instruct a lawyer for GMAA proceedings or can I represent myself?
There is no obligation to instruct a lawyer. Each party can represent itself or be represented by a third party (§ 11 para 6 Arbitration Rules). In more complicated cases it may be wise to instruct a lawyer, however.
6. What happens when the other party sabotages the proceedings?
The arbitral tribunal has several possibilities to induce non-performing parties to cooperate or to do without their cooperation (see for example § 10 para 6 Arbitration Rules). If a respondent does not appoint its choice of arbitrator, a replacement appointment is carried out by the Chairman of the Board of the GMAA (§ 4 para 3 Arbitration Rules). If the respondent does not submit its statement of defence within time or if the respondent does not appear at a scheduled hearing, an award can be made swiftly despite this.
7. If I lose proceedings can I appeal against a GMAA award? Can a losing opposing party do the same?
No. There is no appeal against the arbitration proceedings. Only if the arbitrator is alleged to have committed gross procedural breaches do the parties have the right to apply for the repeal of the arbitral award by a state court.
8. Who bears the costs of the GMAA proceedings?
This is decided by the arbitral tribunal (§ 14 para 4 h) Arbitration Rules). Generally, the arbitral tribunal decides that the losing party bears the costs of the proceedings (§ 7 para 4 Arbitration Rules). If a party only loses in part, it only has to bear the costs of the corresponding part which is lost. If the proceedings result in a settlement, this normally includes a rule on the apportionment of costs.
9. Does the GMAA also have a small claims procedure?
No, but due to the fact that the costs under the GMAA Rules on fees depend upon the value of the dispute, small claims have low costs.
10. Can a GMAA arbitral tribunal also decide solely on the basis of documents?
Yes, but an attempt at conciliation is then much more difficult because the arbitral tribunal and the parties do not come face-to-face for the hearing.
11. What role is played during arbitration proceedings by the GMAA, the secretariat of the GMAA or the board of the GMAA?
None. The GMAA does not conduct any arbitration proceedings, it merely makes an effective system for proceedings available, under which the individually appointed arbitrators act autonomously. The GMAA has no permanent structure and no salaried employees. The board and secretariat consist of volunteers who have no influence on particular arbitration proceedings and their outcomes.
12. How can I ensure that GMAA proceedings take place at all?
Proceedings under the rules of the GMAA only take place if this is agreed upon by the parties. For this it is necessary to adopt an arbitration clause in the underlying agreement. It is also possible to reach such an agreement following conclusion of the underlying agreement – even after having raised the request for arbitration. You can find template arbitration clauses here.