Appellate Insights

Mar 15, 2023 Jeffrey E. Raskin
Arbitration Appealability & Trial Court Strategy

There are many nuances when it comes to appealability of a trial court order on an arbitration award.  Those nuances dictate how and when to seek appellate review.  But it’s worth considering them earlier in the process too, so you can structure your trial court arguments with an eye toward obtaining (or avoiding) an immediately appealable order.

Among the nuances to be aware of:

  • You can’t appeal an order confirming or correcting an award.  Instead, you must appeal from the judgment entered after confirmation.
  • There is a big exception to the general rule that you can appeal an order vacating an award:  You must proceed by writ petition—not appeal—if the trial court simultaneously, explicitly ordered a rehearing in arbitration.
  • Sometimes the trial court confirms or vacates something short of a final award, such as an interim award or partial final award.  In such cases, you can only obtain immediate review by filing a writ petition challenging either the substance of the trial court’s decision or the trial court’s jurisdiction to issue the order.

►  The practical message:  When and how to seek appellate review depends on nuances in both the trial court’s decision and the arbitration award itself.  Considering these issues early keeps your client’s appellate options open.  But it can also help inform your strategy in the trial court:  The relief you seek and arguments you make can shape both your client’s and the other side’s ability to obtain an appealable order.

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