Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



The role of the arbitration process in today's society is to supplant the often laborious and time consuming procedures of the courts with a more informal process wherein the parties to a controversy, by agreement, give one or more individuals effective power to render a decision on a particular matter, or on future controversies as they arise. In order that the grant of the power be effective, and that a resulting award be obeyed, the courts will generally enforce a properly made award without examination of the underlying issues or evidence of the controversy developed during the arbitration. Judicial prescriptions originally and, more recently, legislative prescriptions, have established limitations on the degree of informality with which an arbitration can be carried out. Minimum procedural safeguards have been established which must be followed in order for an arbitration to be valid. However, the parties may still alter these limits under the terms of the agreement, or by waiver while the arbitration is proceeding. The validity of an arbitration may be attacked at various stages of the proceedings by different methods. After an award is granted by the arbitrators it can be avoided on a number of grounds. This article deals with some of those grounds, namely fraud, bias, misconduct, and partiality.