15. How are arbitration awards enforced?
The method of enforcing an arbitration award will vary depending upon the jurisdiction. In a common-law arbitration jurisdiction, a party must generally initiate a legal action to enforce an arbitration award as a contract. Most statutory-arbitration jurisdictions establish a process for enforcing arbitration awards. This may include seeking court recognition and approval of the award. Many jurisdictions require arbitration awards be registered with the court system to receive judicial assistance in enforcement. Generally, the holder of the award will file the award with the Clerk of Court’s office. The clerk will prepare a certification of judgment order for a judge’s signature. Once a judge signs and certifies the order, it may be enforced in the same manner is a judgment. Once confirmed, the award is then reduced to an enforceable judgment, which may be enforced by the winning party in court, like any other judgment.
• Note: Under the FAA, state courts are encouraged to enforce arbitration agreements. Arbitration agreements “shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.”
• Discussion: What do you think about the process for enforcing an arbitration award? Should it be easier or require more effort to enforce? Should the courts get involved at all?
• Practice Question: Josh receives an arbitration award in an arbitration governed by the Federal Arbitration Act. What process can Josh follow to enforce his arbitration award?