Herbert Smith Freehills reviews the decision from the English High Court in Fleetwood Wanderers Ltd (t/a Fleetwood Town Football Club) v AFC Fylde Ltd  EWHC 3318 (Comm), a rare example of a case where the court upheld a challenge to an arbitration award on the grounds of serious irregularity under s.68 of the English Act. While the case shows that the threshold for such challenges is very high, and serves as a reminder to tribunals that if they wish to make independent inquiries in arbitral proceedings, the s.33 duty to act fairly requires that they notify the parties and give them a reasonable opportunity to address such inquiries, the decision demonstrates that English Courts will intervene in the outcome of arbitral proceedings where there is clear and serious irregularity causing substantial injustice.
The authors observe that the case also serves as a reminder of the reluctance of the English Courts to set aside or invalidate an arbitral award, even where there has been a substantial procedural irregularity, and that the Courts will look to remit the award back to the arbitrator where possible, consistent with the principle that English Courts do the minimum to interfere in the arbitral process. … READ MORE
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