Arbitration Law

Chapter 19



19.1 An arbitration award is, unless agreed by the parties, final and binding on the parties, subject to any right in either party to challenge the award in the courts on jurisdictional or procedural grounds or on the basis of an error of law.1 An arbitration award is incapable of direct enforcement by the successful party, and it is necessary for him to enlist the assistance of the court. At common law an arbitration award could be enforced by bringing an action on it, and this applied to both English awards and to foreign awards, although different considerations apply in each case. Statute has long provided a speedier mechanism, in the form of summary enforcement. The relevant provision governing summary enforcement is now the Arbitration Act 1996, s 66, replacing the Arbitration Act 1950, s 26. The Arbitration Act 1996, s 66, like its predecessor, applies to all awards, whether made in England or in some other jurisdiction. For this purpose, an award is deemed to be made in England, Wales or Northern Ireland if the seat of the arbitration was any of those places.2 An award made in some other jurisdiction may also be enforced under one or more of the international Conventions or bilateral agreements incorporated into English law by various statutes. The complex statutory framework for the enforcement of foreign awards is discussed below.3 In all cases the English courts can enforce an award expressed in a foreign currency.4 Necessarily, only the successful party can enforce the award, although the fact that the successful party has changed its name does not prevent the enforcement of the award by the newly named company.5

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