TURNER CORPORATION LIMITED V AUSTOTEL PTY LTD (1992) CLD100015 OF
Supreme Court of NSW – 3 April 1992
By contract in the form JCC A 1985, Turner agreed to construct a hotel for Austotel.
Turner issued proceedings against Austotel for declarations and orders relating to extensions of time and payment under the contract, damages for breach of the contract and other matters.
In response, Austotel sought an order that the proceedings be stayed pursuant to section 53(1) of the Commercial Arbitration Act 1984 (NSW). This provision allows for a party to an arbitration agreement to seek a stay in legal proceedings to allow an arbitration to be conducted.
The relevant clause of the contract provided that one party could serve a notice of dispute on the other party. If the dispute was not resolved a party could elect to issue proceedings or refer the dispute to arbitration. In this case Austotel served on Turner a notice to refer the dispute to arbitration.
The Court had to decide whether there was an arbitration agreement within the meaning of the act.