The subcontracting agreement contained an arbitration clause followed by a mention:

“In case of failure of arbitration procedure within a maximum period of 3 months, only the MARSEILLE Commercial Court will be competent (…)”.

Silim Environnement, contractor, decided to terminate the agreement.

This decision being contested by A4 Recyclage, subcontractor, the latter appointed an arbitrator. The contractor appointed an arbitrator around eight months later. These two arbitrators appointed the third, who accepted the mission but never received any documents regarding the dispute. This led to the conclusion of deficiency of the arbitration.

The subcontractor, therefore, applied to the Marseille’s Commercial Court. The contractor invoked the arbitration clause.

The court dismissed the jurisdictional pleas. The contractor lodged an appeal.

The Court of Appeal upholds the previous decision by ruling that the parties failed to establish an arbitral tribunal and the terms of reference within the three-month period, as required by the arbitration agreement.