The Other Avenues of Hall Street and Prospects For Judicial Review of Arbitral Awards
24 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2010
Date Written: June 16, 2010
In Hall Street Associates, L.L.C. v. Mattel, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) provided the exclusive grounds for judicial vacatur and modification of arbitral awards covered under the Act. In so ruling, the Court rejected the contention that the FAA’s requirement to enforce arbitration contracts as written includes private contracts that seek to expand the scope of judicial review beyond the grounds enumerated in the FAA. Despite holding that parties cannot expand a court’s power to review an arbitration award under the FAA, the Court alluded to the possibility of “other possible avenues” for judicial review of arbitration awards. This decision arguably raised more questions than it answered. For example, did Hall Street limit a court’s power to review an arbitral award for a judicially recognized standard of manifest disregard of the law or violation of public policy? Can parties achieve essentially the same result through creative drafting, such as provisions that limit the scope of an arbitrator’s powers to render only factually or legally correct decisions? Are state courts bound by the FAA’s narrow modification and review standards, and Hall Street’s interpretation thereof? This Article analyzes these questions and considers Hall Street’s impact on arbitration practice and judicial willingness and ability to review arbitral awards.
Keywords: Federal Arbitration Act, arbitration, ADR, dispute, resolution, arbitration contract, arbitration award, court, review, disregard of the law, public policy, judge, judiciary, judicial
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