Arbitration award was set aside

Ontario civil | Alternative Dispute Resolution

Judicial review of arbitration awards

Grounds for review

Arbitration award was set aside

Parties all worked in real estate business and entered verbal agreement to work together to sell property and split commissions. Dispute arose about commission for one property, with applicant taking position he should receive all commission and respondents asserting commission should be equally split amongst all three parties. Agency offered to provide arbitration. Both manual and arbitration agreement entered into by parties provided arbitration would be final and binding. Parties all made submissions and questioned each other. Arbitration award provided that commission would be equally split between parties, but there was complete absence of reasons. Applicant brought application to set aside arbitration award. Application granted. Since Arbitration Act came into force, phrase “final and binding” may be insufficient to exclude right of appeal. Respondents’ argument that arbitration was so simple and informal that reasoning could be inferred was not accepted. Parties made submissions and were examined, yet there was no record of this evidence or argument. Arbitration committee must have preferred respondents’ evidence but there was no explanation why. Absence of reasons offended s. 38 of Arbitration Act and common law requirements. Applicant was entitled to know why his position did not prevail and to assess his options. If appeal resulted, court needed reasons to review, and members of public, particularly those in real estate, would benefit from explanation of how dispute was resolved. As there was no information about committee members, their availability for recall or whether they kept any notes, merely remitting matter for reasons was not viable option.
Peters v. D’Antonio (2016), 2016 CarswellOnt 21243, 2016 ONSC 7141, Bruce Thomas J. (Ont. S.C.J.).

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