There are three common forms of award in arbitration. The first is a standard award (a simple statement of who won and any relief granted) or, if the award is issued under the Construction Industry Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA), “a concise written financial breakdown of any monetary awards.” The second is a reasoned award or, as described in the AAA construction rules, “a reasoned opinion.” The third is an award based on findings of fact and conclusions of law. The AAA construction rules provide that the parties may request a specific form of award up through the conclusion of the first preliminary management hearing.
In the past, arbitrators were advised to issue only standard awards because of concern that a detailed written opinion “might expose the award to challenge in the courts, jeopardizing both the speed and finality of arbitration.” More recently, however, arbitrators have been encouraged to issue the type of award the parties want. For example, the AAA construction rules provide that, “If the parties agree on a form of award…the arbitrator shall provide the form of award agreed upon.”