Comparative Guides

Welcome to Mondaq Comparative Guides - your comparative global Q&A guide.

Our Comparative Guides provide an overview of some of the key points of law and practice and allow you to compare regulatory environments and laws across multiple jurisdictions.

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4. Results: Answers
International Arbitration
Grounds for challenging an award
What are the grounds on which an award can be challenged, appealed or otherwise set aside in your jurisdiction?
United States

Answer ... Section 10 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) contains the exclusive grounds for seeking vacatur:

(1) where the award was procured by corruption, fraud, or undue means; (2) where there was evident partiality or corruption in the arbitrators, or either of them; (3) where the arbitrators were guilty of misconduct in refusing to postpone the hearing, upon sufficient cause shown, or in refusing to hear evidence pertinent and material to the controversy[,] or of any other misbehavior by which the rights of any party have been prejudiced; or (4) where the arbitrators exceeded their powers, or so imperfectly executed them that a mutual, final, and definite award upon the subject-matter submitted was not made. (9 USC § 10(a)).

A party seeking to invoke one of these statutory grounds “must clear a high hurdle” (Stolt-Nielsen SA v Animal Feeds Int’l Corp, 559 US at 671).

For more information about this answer please contact: Jonathan Landy from Williams & Connolly
Are there are any time limits and/or other requirements to bring a challenge?
United States

Answer ... Under Section 12 of the FAA (9 USC § 12), a motion to vacate, modify or correct an arbitral award must be served on the opposing party within three months of the award being filed or delivered. The action must be brought in the district where the award was made. When the challenge to an award is made in federal district court, the moving party must establish that the court has both subject-matter jurisdiction over the dispute, (ie the claim exceeds $75,000 and the parties are citizens of different states, or the claim arises under federal law) and personal jurisdiction over the parties.

For more information about this answer please contact: Jonathan Landy from Williams & Connolly
Are parties permitted to exclude any rights of challenge or appeal?
United States

Answer ... The FAA contains no procedure for “appeal” of legal or factual determinations made by an arbitrator. However, certain arbitral institutions have optional appellate arbitration procedures that the parties can incorporate into their arbitration agreement, or agree to after the arbitration is ongoing, and can vary the finality of the arbitration process (eg, see International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution Appellate Arbitration Procedure (2015)).

The Supreme Court, in Hall St Assocs, LLC v Mattel, Inc, 552 U.S. 576 (2008), held that the grounds for vacatur under Section 10 of the FAA are exclusive and cannot be expanded by contract. Some state courts (including California, Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island) have held that their state arbitration statutes permit expanded review and are not pre-empted by the FAA (see Cable Connection, Inc v DIRECTV, Inc, 190 P3d 586 (Cal 2008) (requiring an explicit and unambiguous contract provision for expanded review); Nafta Traders Inc v Quinn, 339 SW3d 84 (Tex 2011)). Other state courts have held that their state statutes do not permit expanded review (Brookfield Country Club, Inc v St James Brookfield, LLC, 696 SE 2d 663 (Ga 2010)).

Some courts have held that parties to an arbitration agreement can reduce the scope of judicial review by agreement or preclude judicial review entirely (eg, see West Virginia Investment Management Board v Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company, 2018 WL 2769058 (W Va App Ct 16 May 2008) (arbitration clauses that prohibit appellate review of a district court’s order confirming an arbitration award are valid so long as intent is clear)).

For more information about this answer please contact: Jonathan Landy from Williams & Connolly
International Arbitration