Dissenting opinions in arbitral awards
Dissenting opinions in arbitral awards

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

  • Dissenting opinions in arbitral awards
  • What is the value of a dissenting opinion?
  • How is dissent expressed?
  • How common are dissenting opinions?
  • Requirements of AA 1996 and leading institutional rules

In arbitration proceedings presided over by a three-member arbitral tribunal, there will be circumstances when the arbitrators cannot reach a unanimous decision. In those circumstances, in arbitration under the Arbitration Act 1996 (AA 1996) or under the leading institutional arbitration rules, the arbitral award can be rendered by a majority.

What is the value of a dissenting opinion?

Dissenting opinions do not give grounds for any form of challenge or appeal of an arbitral award unless the parties, by agreement or by adopting particular sets of arbitration rules, have decided that an award must be made unanimously.

However, a dissenting opinion does have some value to a dissatisfied party as:

  1. in the context of a challenge or appeal to an arbitral award, a dissenting opinion may be admissible as evidence only in relation to procedural matters (B v A—see News Analysis: What is the status of a dissenting opinion in arbitral award? What challenge may be brought if an error as to the application of a foreign law is alleged (News, 2 July 2010))

  2. a comment in a dissenting opinion from a member of an arbitral tribunal, to the effect that an important point has been decided by the majority without reference to the parties, will be a factor to which the court will attach weight in dealing with an application under AA 1996, s