The Award - Chapter 8 - Arbitration Law of Canada: Practice and Procedure - Third Edition
Originally from Arbitration Law of Canada: Practice and Procedure, 3rd Ed.
The decision of an arbitral tribunal is referred to as the “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 directions 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. 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. Firstly, 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. This may cause difficulties with enforcement of interim “Awards” in many jurisdictions. This is discussed in Chapter 10. Despite this important distinction, the dividing line between awards, on the one hand, and orders and directions, on the other, is not always clear. This is particularly so in what has been commonly referred to as “interim awards.” The Domestic Acts acknowledge that an arbitral tribunal may make one or more interim awards and may make one of more final awards.