May 10, 2012 Articles

How "Reasoned" Must a "Reasoned Award" Be?

By Manjit Gill

Parties routinely agree in advance to resolve their commercial and business disputes by binding arbitration. Sometimes, the parties may merely identify the relevant institutional rules of procedure that will govern the future arbitration if a dispute arises. On other occasions, the parties will go much further and spell out, detail by detail, what the parties expect the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators to do from the inception of the arbitration to its conclusion when they announce their award. Let's assume the parties, either in the arbitration agreement or at some other preliminary stage after the arbitration commences, agree that the arbitrator or panel will render a "reasoned award." How "reasoned" must a "reasoned award" be to pass muster? As two recent decisions from the Eleventh and Seventh Circuits illustrate, merely asking for a "reasoned award" may not get you the result you seek.

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