Eric van Ginkel

Document Type



The Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA") of 1925 was created to ensure enforceability of agreements to arbitrate. The FAA is the centerpiece of the federal arbitration policy as construed by the Supreme Court. Section 10(a) FAA enumerates grounds on which an arbitral award can be set aside. The central issue discussed herein is whether parties can agree by contract to allow one of the parties to initiate review of the arbitral award by a court that would otherwise have jurisdiction over those parties, or whether the court's powers are somehow limited to the grounds for vacatur enumerated in Section 10(a) FAA. Put more succinctly, this article analyzes the legitimacy of judicial review of an arbitral award on the basis of a pre-dispute agreement providing that the arbitrator's findings of fact and/or conclusions of law (as set forth in such award) may be subjected to judicial review, and how such judicial review interacts with §10(a) of the Federal Arbitration Act. The principal focus of this article is on domestic and international commercial arbitration, although I briefly address certain implications for consumer arbitration.