Award

This Act was given effect in England on 31st January 1997 and has the two-fold purpose of consolidating the preceding legislation (the 1979 Act) and introducing some changes. The aim in drafting the 1996 Act was to restate the law of arbitration in simple English, adopting a logical format which proceeds from arbitration agreements through the appointment of an arbitrator and the conduct of the proceedings, to awards. The 1996 Act severely limits the right to appeal from an arbitration award. An appeal on a point of law remains unchanged (section 69), but an agreement not to have a reasoned award excludes the right to appeal. The application for leave must be made within 28 days of the date of the award. By section 69 (3), for leave to be granted the court should be satisfied that the determination of the question will substantially affect the rights of one or more of the parties and that the question is one that the tribunal was originally asked to determine. This point gives statutory effect to the guidelines enshrined in The Nema (1982) which established that the courts would not be willing to intervene unless “the arbitrator had misdirected himself in law or that his decision was such that no reasonable arbitrator could reach”. Unless the disputed point was raised before the arbitrators, no application for leave to appeal may be made. On appeal the court has certain options: it may confirm the award; it may vary the award; it may set aside the award, either wholly or partially; it may remit the award back to the arbitrators either in its entirety or   relevant sections of it, for them to reconsider in the light of the court’s decision.