The Award - Chapter 8 - Arbitration Law of Canada: Practice and Procedure - Fourth Edition
The final decision of an arbitral tribunal on any issue is referred to as an “award.” To be considered an “award” the decision must dispose of all or part of a legal dispute, or the lis, between the parties. The distinction between an arbitral tribunal’s “award” on the one hand and “orders” and “directions” on the other is important. Whereas the former addresses matters of substance, the latter deals with matters of procedure. An award decides the legal rights in dispute. An order or direction determines procedural rights and steps.
The distinction between awards and orders/directions is significant when it comes to issues of judicial recognition, enforcement and appeal rights. See Chapter 7. Some of the Domestic Acts provide for an appeal to the courts, with leave, of “an award.” Unless a particular section deals with appeal rights from a direction or order of the tribunal, there are none. A judicial power to correct procedural rulings of an arbitrator during arbitration is not part of modern arbitration systems.
The significance of the distinction is similarly reflected in the New York Convention and the Model Law. First, under the New York Convention the courts have traditionally held that only “awards” (i.e., final determinations) can enjoy recognition and enforcement and secondly, only an “award” is subject to judicial review thus shielding interim decisions from court involvement.
Despite this important distinction, the dividing line between awards, and orders and directions, is not always clear. This is particularly so in what has been commonly referred to as “interim awards.” Most but not all of the Domestic Acts state that an arbitral tribunal may make one or more interim awards and may make one or more final awards The Acts do not define what is meant by an “interim award.” The B.C. Domestic Act no longer defines an Award, but the VanIAC Rules define Award:
(g) “Award” includes the reasons for an award, an interim award, a partial award and a direction of an Arbitration tribunal.
The term “interim award” has been used when an interim injunction or other measure of protection has been granted on an interim or interlocutory basis. The more current approach is to refer to these decisions as “interim measures.”