Legal Article

Understanding the Arbitral Award: A Comprehensive Guide

Shivendra Pratap Singh


High Court Lucknow


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Published on: 21 Aug, 2023


The arbitral award is the culmination of the arbitration process. It is the final decision rendered by the Arbitral Tribunal, which resolves the issues presented in the dispute and often has a lasting impact on the parties involved. This comprehensive guide aims to outline what an arbitral award is, the elements it contains, how it is enforced, and the limited grounds upon which it can be challenged.

What is an Arbitral Award?

An arbitral award is a formal written decision provided by the Arbitral Tribunal at the end of the arbitration proceedings. It outlines the tribunal’s findings on the issues in dispute, the reasons for its decision, and any remedies granted. This award is usually binding on the parties, subject to very limited rights of appeal or challenges.

Elements of an Arbitral Award

Identifying Information

The award typically begins by identifying the parties involved, the Arbitral Tribunal, the seat of arbitration, and the procedural history.

Factual Background

This section provides an overview of the facts of the case, as established during the proceedings.

The award discusses the legal standards applied and provides a detailed analysis of the issues, drawing upon the facts, applicable law, and arguments presented by the parties.

Conclusion and Relief

The award concludes with the tribunal’s decision on each issue. It specifies the relief granted, which could be monetary compensation, specific performance, or other forms of remedy.


The award usually also addresses the allocation of costs, detailing how the fees and expenses of the arbitration, including the Arbitral Tribunal’s fees, are to be divided between the parties.

Date and Signatures

The award is dated and signed by the arbitrators. In a panel, typically all arbitrators sign, although there may be dissenting opinions.

Enforcing an Arbitral Award

Arbitral awards are generally enforceable in most jurisdictions around the world, thanks to international conventions like the New York Convention of 1958. A party looking to enforce an award must usually apply to a competent court in the jurisdiction where enforcement is sought.

Grounds for Challenging an Award

The avenues for challenging an arbitral award are often limited and vary by jurisdiction. Common grounds include:

  1. Jurisdictional Errors: The Arbitral Tribunal acted outside its jurisdiction.
  2. Procedural Irregularities: There were significant procedural errors that affected the fairness of the proceedings.
  3. Public Policy: Enforcing the award would violate the public policy of the jurisdiction in which enforcement is sought.
  4. Arbitrator Misconduct: Includes bias or failure to disclose conflicts of interest.

Final Thoughts

An arbitral award serves as the final and usually binding resolution of a dispute in arbitration. Understanding its components, enforcement mechanisms, and the limited scope for challenges can prepare parties for what to expect at the end of the arbitration process.


This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Always consult legal professionals for advice tailored to your specific situation.

Understanding the arbitral award is crucial for anyone engaged in or considering arbitration. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare can make the arbitration process more navigable and less intimidating.


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