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BINDING ARBITRATION - Awards and remedial relief - Setting aside

Friday, August 07, 2020 @ 6:12 AM  

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Appeal by Appleton from orders refusing to set aside an arbitration award and granting the respondent leave for the award to be enforced as a judgment. The appellant and respondent law firms were retained by a plaintiff in a proposed class action pursuant to a written agreement. The appellant believed the respondent was in breach of the agreement and filed a notice of arbitration. The arbitrator dismissed the appellant's claim and awarded the respondent indemnity costs of the main arbitration and an interim relief application. The appellant sought an order setting aside the arbitration award on the basis that the arbitrator made several arbitral errors. The respondent sought an order that the award could be enforced in the same manner as a judgment. The chambers judge found that the arbitrator did not satisfy the requirements of natural justice but found that these arbitral errors did not justify setting aside the award.

HELD: Appeal allowed in part. The arbitration award was remitted to the arbitrator for reconsideration. Section s. 30(1) of the Arbitration Act did not give the court a residual discretion to refuse to set aside an arbitral award upon finding that an arbitral error had been committed. Section 30(1) gave the court the option of either setting aside or remitting an award if there was an arbitral error, and s. 30(2) set out the only circumstances in which the court could uphold the award despite the occurrence of an arbitral error. The chambers judge did not purport to refuse to set aside the award pursuant to s. 30(2).

Appleton & Associates v. Branch MacMaster LLP, [2020] B.C.J. No. 1051, British Columbia Court of Appeal, M.V. Newbury, D.F. Tysoe and D.C. Harris JJ.A., July 2, 2020. Digest No. TLD-August32020008