May 30, 2014 Articles

"Entry of Judgment" Language in Arbitration Clauses

What language is required for confirmation of judgment?

by Sarah Rubin and Judy Barrasso

Attorneys routinely seek court enforcement of awards and judgments made in private arbitrations. A court judgment is required to collect on any arbitration award where the party against whom the award is made does not voluntarily submit payment. Given the liberal standard on enforcement of awards under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), courts typically enter such judgments without delay. Confusion can arise where the underlying contract contains a "final and binding" arbitration clause but does not contain an express "entry of judgment" provision. Many contracts contain arbitration provisions that provide that any arbitration conducted under the contract must be "final and binding"—but contracts occasionally omit language that permits "entry of judgment" upon the arbitrator's decision. In the absence of such language, some federal courts have questioned whether they have any power at all to issue a judgment confirming a private arbitration award. This article explains the basic contours of the statutory source of the confusion and outlines why express "entry of judgment" language should not be required for a district court to confirm an arbitration award.

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