One attraction of binding arbitration as a mechanism for resolving disputes is the relative informality in comparison to judicial litigation. Informality can have disadvantages, however. One is the limited explanation of the basis for the arbitrators’ decision.
In a recent case, a project owner challenged an arbitration award in favor of a contractor. The owner contended the arbitrators did not render a “reasoned award,” as promised, because they failed to explain each element of the damages they awarded the contractor.
A federal appeals court said a reasoned arbitration award is not required to include a line-by-line analysis of the claim and resulting award. A substantive statement of the basic rationale for the overall damage award was sufficient.
How much of an explanation do you think arbitrators should provide? Should arbitration clauses be written to require detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law? Your comments are welcomed.