The American Arbitration Association (AAA) launched a new program at the end of 2013 that allows parties to appeal an AAA arbitral award to a panel of AAA appellate arbitrators. The parties can only take advantage of this option if they have included language in their contractual arbitration provision that allows either side to appeal the arbitration decision to the AAA appeals panel. A company cannot unilaterally choose this appeals process after an arbitration decision is made.
This new vehicle for appeals gives parties the ability to challenge an arbitration award on grounds that are broader than the appeals process available to them in the court system. The AAA process seems to lessen the finality of arbitration awards, but still offers a process that is perhaps more streamlined than the court system. This new option could make arbitration provisions more enticing to companies. Click here for the AAA appellate arbitration rules.