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“ The respondent transportation authority purported to start a multi-party arbitration under several contracts without the consent of the Parties. The other parties objected to the consolidation of their disputes. The transportation authority filed a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking both a declaration that arbitration had been commenced and the appointment of an arbitrator. The judge held that the original notice to arbitrate was merely an irregular document and, as such, was curable nunc pro tunc. The judge found , accordingly, that arbitration had been commenced and appointed a single arbitrator for all three disputes.
Held: Appeal allowed. The Arbitration Act, with the exception of s. 21, only contemplates the arbitration of disputes arising under an individual Contract. Since the parties did not consent to multi-party, multi-contract arbitration, the s. 21 exception was not engaged in this case. The notice to arbitrate thereby invoked a procedure that was unknown to both the Act and the contracts at issue. This being so, the notice was A nullity.”