Can I appeal the arbitration award?
The possibility of appealing an arbitration decision largely depends on the terms set out in the arbitration agreement and the governing Arbitration Act. Both the Alberta and BC Arbitration Act do allow for the appeal of arbitration awards, but with specific conditions and limitations. In some cases, the arbitration agreement may specify that the parties cannot appeal the award, or it might outline specific conditions for appealing any decision. This highlights why it's crucial to fully understand the terms of your arbitration agreement before you agree to it.
If the arbitration agreement permits, a party can seek leave of the court to file an appeal on various grounds, including:
- a question of law.
- a question of fact.
- or a question of mixed law and fact.
This means that if a party believes the arbitrator has made an error in applying the law or in interpreting the facts of the case, they can apply to the court to “seek leave” or ask for permission to appeal the arbitration decision.
If the arbitration agreement does not provide that the parties may appeal an award to the court on a question of law, a party can apply to the court to “seek leave” or ask for permission to appeal an award on a question of law.
Corrections & Amplifications of an Arbitration Award
In addition to appeals, the BC and Alberta Arbitration Act provide for 'corrections' and 'amplifications' to an arbitration award. If a party believes that there is an error in the award or requires further explanation on the reasons behind the award, they can request such clarification or correction from the arbitrator. This request must be made in writing and within 30 days after receiving the award.
It's important to differentiate between an appeal and a request for correction or amplification. An appeal involves a formal legal process challenging the decision itself, potentially leading to a reversal or modification of the award. In contrast, corrections and amplifications are about clarifying or rectifying the existing award without fundamentally changing the arbitrator's decision.
Time Limits for Filing an Appeal
There are time limits for filing an appeal in both BC and Alberta.
Under section 60 of the BC Arbitration Act and section 46 of the Alberta Arbitration Act, if you want to appeal an arbitration award, you must file and serve the appeal upon the other party within 30 days of receiving the award. This timeframe also applies if you are appealing a correction, interpretation, or additional award related to the original arbitration decision.
Given the complexity and legal implications of appealing an arbitration decision, it is advisable to seek legal advice to understand the feasibility, process, and potential outcomes of an appeal in the context of your specific arbitration agreement and the relevant arbitration legislation.