AA 1996—challenging the award—categories of serious irregularity (s 68)
AA 1996—challenging the award—categories of serious irregularity (s 68)

The following Arbitration guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • AA 1996—challenging the award—categories of serious irregularity (s 68)
  • Failure to comply with general duty to act fairly (AA 1996, s 68(2)(a))
  • Tribunal exceeding its procedural powers (s 68(2)(b))
  • Failure to conduct the proceedings in accordance with the procedure agreed by the parties (s 68(2)(c))
  • Failure to deal with all issues (s 68(2)(d))
  • Institution or person vested with powers exceeding powers in respect of proceedings or award (s 68(2)(e))
  • Uncertainty or ambiguity as to the effect of the award (s 68(2)(f))
  • Fraud or public policy (s 68(2)(g))
  • Form of the award (s 68(2)(h))
  • An admitted irregularity in the conduct of the proceedings or the award (s 68(2)(i))

A party to arbitration proceedings may (on notice to the other parties and to the tribunal) apply to the court challenging an award in proceedings on the ground of serious irregularity affecting the tribunal, the proceedings or the award (section 68(1) of the Arbitration Act 1996 (AA 1996)).

Serious irregularity is defined as irregularity that falls within one or more of the nine exhaustive categories specified in AA 1996, s 68(2)(a)–(i), which the court considers has caused or will cause substantial injustice to the applicant (AA 1996, s 68(2)).

For information on the grounds upon which the court may find serious irregularity and on making applications under AA 1996, s 68, see Practice Notes: AA 1996—challenging the award on grounds of serious irregularity (s 68) and AA 1996—challenging and appealing arbitral awards in the English court.

In this Practice Note, we consider the nine categories of serious irregularity and provide examples of how they have been interpreted by the English court, although it should be always borne in mind that most of the decided cases turned on their own particular facts.

It should also be remembered that AA 1996, s 68 cannot be used by parties to challenge factual findings of tribunals. As Akenhead J stated in Schwebel v Schwebel: ‘[t]ime and time again the English courts have emphasised that Section 68 should not