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Arbitration Provider Assisting with Confirmation of Award - What are your thoughts?

Provided that advance disclosure of this possibility is made to the parties, should an arbitration provider assist or represent the party that has prevailed in an arbitration with obtaining confirmation of the arbitration award, where the provider giving such assistance administered the underlying arbitration?

Please provide your thoughts/comments below.

Comments (9)

Michael A. Levy:

If an appearance of absolute neutrality in the process counts, assisting a prevailing party in confirming an award might seem to the non-prevailing party to move the provider from a wholly administrative role towards an advocacy role even though a final and binding award has already been rendered. Advance disclosure of the possibility of provider assistance in obtaining confirmation of the award is not likely to change an unhappy non-prevailing party's view that the the provider has become an extension of the other side's advocacy.

Hon. William G. Bassler:

I do not think it is the role of the arbitration institution to assist in the confirmation of the Award. Where does that activity appear in the rules and what is the basis that the parties would expect such assistance.
Confirmation requires judicial action, and assisting a party to obtain judicial confirmation constitutes in my opinion, the practice of law.
If a mistake were made by the institution, would the institution be able to claim immunity ?

Deanne Wilson:

I agree with Mr Levy. In addition, and arbitrator-turned-advocate may bolster the non-prevailing party's argument that the arbitrator was biased. In that event the arbitrator would not be assisting in confirmation of the award at all! Disclosure really has nothing to do with it: The non-prevailing party may argue that the award outcome was already contemplated by the arbitrator and that the disclosure was designed only to put the non-prevailing party off guard.

Judge Gerald Harris:

If there is a challenge to confirmation of the award, so that the process is not merely ministerial, it would seem inappropriate for the administrator to become an advocate.

Paul Nicolai:


The only situation where I have seen something like this work is in a subject limited arbitration provider scenario. The particular case I have in mind is an arbitration process for attorney fee arbitrations. In that case, the arbitration provider sends out a booklet which describes how the arbitration award made by that organization can be confirmed or vacated and provides links to court websites for those courts with jurisdiction.

A copy of the booklet is sent to all parties in every arbitration when the award is made.

It is relatively easy to do this because all of these arbitrations are subject to the jurisdiction of one state so all that needs to be described is the process availing in that state.

Donald Frei:

I, too, agree with Michael Levy. What if the award is contested and the arbitrator is the person enforcing it? It strikes me as there is likely to be a conflict of interest. The bottom line, in my view, is it's a bad idea.

I agree with all of the "no's". Obtaining confirmation is the province of the prevailing party, and not the forum provider.

Eric Wiechmann:

The arbitral institution is supposed to keep the process/proceeding confidential. If it seeks confirmation and files an award with the court revealing confidential information is it violating that duty? Also, how is the institution to decide if their is or not a meritorious vacatur motion that could be filed. Does it wait 3 months to confirm?

I too am in the "no" category. The arbitration ends at the award. Enforcement is a different matter and should not be conflated with the arbitration or helped along by the arbitration provider.

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