Are arbitrators bound to follow the law?
Yes, and LMAA arbitrators always do their best to do so. However the law is not always clear. In such cases arbitrators have to do their best to decide what the law is. In some cases it may be possible to obtain leave to appeal against an award on a question of law.
How can an award be challenged or appealed against?
There may be a challenge to an award if a serious irregularity, as defined in s.68(2) of the Arbitration Act 1996 can be shown. Such challenges are rarely made, however, because of the difficulty of proving the relevant grounds, and few of those that are made are successful. The advice of experienced lawyers is essential before mounting a challenge, and in order to pursue one lawyers must be involved.
An appeal on a question of law arising out of an award may be made under s.69 of the Arbitration Act 1996. However, unless the parties agree, leave to appeal has first to be obtained. That is not easily done having regard to s.69(3) of the Act, and in particular to sub-section (c) thereof. Even in those relatively rare cases where leave is granted, a substantial proportion of awards are upheld. As with s.68 challenges, the advice of experienced lawyers is essential before seeking leave to appeal, and in order to pursue an application lawyers must be involved.
Do arbitrators follow other awards?
Arbitrators will sometimes have other awards referred to them, but such awards are not precedents and no tribunal is bound to follow the views of another tribunal, even in the rare example of an identical case. However, appropriate consideration and respect is shown to awards on similar points, whether they are from arbitrators in London or in some other centre.