Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Award Definition:

The decision of an arbitrator.

Jowitt's Dictionary of English Law defines an award as:

"... an instrument embodying an arbitrator's decision on a matter submitted to him....

"It ... need not necessarily be in writing uinless so prescribed."

In Wu, a British Columbia tribunal opined that:

"The hallmark of an award is that it is a decision by a decision maker other than a judge. In my opinion it does not include a settlement made between the parties."

Many jurisdictions have enacted statutes (with, for example, the name of Arbitration Act) which provides a default set of terms under which parties seeking to avail themselves of arbitration may rely. Most such default terms require that the award be in writing and that it is final and binding upon the parties on the issue before the arbitrator - to the full extent of res judicata.

The English Arbitration Act, at §58 provides:

"Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, an award made by the tribunal pursuant to an arbitration agreement is final and binding both on the parties and on any persons claiming through or under them."

According to C. Duhaime, such a statutory provision is a reflection of:

" ... the position at common law that even if the parties did not expressly agree to be bound by the award, it was implied that the award was final and binding upon them."

In Gill: The Law of Arbitration, the authors add:

"An award must be distinguished from procedural orders and directions; such orders and directions are not awards."Once the arbitrator gives his award, he is functus officio."

French: décision arbitrale or sentence arbitrale.


  • Arbitration Act, Revised Statutes of Nova Scotia 1989, Chapter 19, §5.
  • Arbitration Act 1996, Statutes of 1996, Chapter 23
  • Marshall, E., Gill, The Law of Arbitration, 4th Ed. (London: Sweet and Maxwell, 2001), page 55.
  • Duhaime, C., BC Commercial Arbitration Act (Vancouver: CLE, 2004), page 35.
  • Wu v British Columbia 66 LCR 73 (1999; BC Expropriation Compensation Board)

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