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Authors

Chad R. Yates

Abstract

Manifest disregard is a common law reason for not enforcing an arbitration award. This principle applies when the arbitrator knew and understood the law, but the arbitrator disregarded the applicable law. Presently, the United States Supreme Court has not made a definite decision on whether manifest disregard is still a valid reason for vacating the award (known as “vacatur”), and the Court is highly deferential to arbitrator decisions. Consequently, the lower courts are split on the issue. For international commercial arbitration awards, manifest disregard can only apply to a foreign award that is decided under United States law or in the United States. This Note will argue that manifest disregard should still apply to arbitration awards. However, arbitration contract clauses would be improved with the addition of language for appeals based upon manifest disregard to an arbitration appeals tribunal. The customary goal of arbitration is to provide a confidential, cost effective and expedited resolution of contract disputes. Therefore, an arbitration contract clause requiring that an appeals tribunal decide all manifest disregard questions would further these traditional arbitration goals.

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