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Virginia Arbitration: Summary of Codes

Wednesday, April, 27, 2011

Virginia arbitration has been governed by state law codes since 1986, when the Uniform Arbitration Act was passed.  This comprehensive law contains 16 sections and is presumed to be the final authority on arbitration in the state, unless contracts contain clear and specific provisions about how arbitration proceedings will apply in a particular dispute.


What Does the Virginia Arbitration Act Say About Courts?


Although arbitration in Virginia and other states is a process in which courts can in large measure be avoided, that does not mean that arbitration has nothing at all to do with the court system.  When arbitration awards are not complied with, parties can turn to the courts for enforcement.  Courts have generally been cooperative in enforcing decisions made by an arbitration attorney, because such decisions are binding according to the contract that set forth arbitration as a dispute resolution in the first place. 


The Virginia Arbitration Act mentions courts in other contexts as well, specifying the circumstances under which state courts have the capacity to vacate or modify arbitration awards.  In addition, there are some limited circumstances under which arbitration decisions can be appealed in court. 


Commercial arbitration contracts are commonly found and are sometimes criticized because in some cases, people have no option but to agree to binding arbitration; it can be the cost of obtaining a certain type of service such as a credit card.