Wednesday, November 6, 2013

AAA Appellate Arbitration Rules

The American Arbitration Association (AAA) has introduced a new set of Optional Appellate Arbitration Rules effective this month. These new rules provide parties with a streamlined, standardized, appellate arbitration procedure, allowing for review of arbitral awards. AAA maintains this appellate rubric remains consistent with the objective of an expedited, cost effective and just arbitration process. Courts have previously used only narrowly defined statutory grounds to set aside arbitration awards. This process now provides for an appeal within the arbitration. An appellate arbitral panel applies a standard of review more expansive than that allowed by existing federal and state law in vacating awards. Though optional, these rules were developed for large, complex cases where parties value the ability to appeal. Parties may use these rules with agreement by contract or stipulation. Appeals are only permitted on the grounds that the underlying award is based on errors of law that are material, prejudicial or is made on clearly erroneous determinations of fact. Generally, AAA appeals will be determined upon the written documents submitted by the parties, with no oral argument. As efficiency is desired, the Optional Appellate Arbitration Rules anticipate a three month process to complete resolution. At present, the panels consist of former federal and state judges and neutrals with strong appellate backgrounds. Interestingly, the parties may apply the rules whether or not the underlying award was conducted pursuant to AAA or International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) rules. See rules here--