VA Code 8.01-581.08 Interpretation

Code 8.01-581.08, entitled "Change of award by arbitrators," provides, in pertinent part, as follows: On application of a party or, if an application to the court is pending under 8.01-581.09, 8.01-581.010 or 8.01-581.011, on submission to the arbitrators by the court under such conditions as the court may order, the arbitrators may modify or correct the award upon the grounds stated in subdivisions 1 and 3 of 8.01-581.011, or for purposes of clarifying the award. The application shall be made within twenty days after delivery of the award to the applicant. . . . The award as modified or corrected is subject to the provisions of 8.01-581.09, 8.01-581.010 or 8.01-581.011. In Virginia, a "trial court's review of an arbitration award is governed by specific statutory criteria," and "the party attacking an arbitrator's award bears the burden of proving the invalidity of the award." Trustees of Asbury United Methodist Church v. Taylor & Parrish, Inc., 249 Va. 144, 153, 452 S.E.2d 847, 852 (1995). The Uniform Arbitration Act, as adopted in Code 8.01-581.01 et seq., provides the exclusive means for challenging errors in the award by the arbitrator and sets forth the procedures for obtaining judicial review and confirmation of the arbitration award. Cf. Decker v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., 205 F.3d 906, 909 (6th Cir. 2000) (observing that Federal Arbitration Act which, we note, is substantially similar in pertinent parts to Virginia's Uniform Arbitration Act provides exclusive remedy for challenging acts that taint an arbitration award subject to that Act). Thus, in choosing to have Virginia law govern their arbitration agreement, the parties effectively consented to be bound by the rules of the Uniform Arbitration Act. See C & L Enterprises, Inc. v. Citizen Band Potawatomi Indian Tribe of Okla., 149 L. Ed. 2d 623, 121 S. Ct. 1589, 1595 (2001) (noting that parties who selected Oklahoma law to govern their arbitration agreement consented to confirmation of the award in accordance with the Oklahoma Uniform Arbitration Act). Accordingly, once the arbitrator rendered his decision in this case pursuant to the parties' valid agreement to arbitrate their disputes, the arbitration award was binding on the parties unless they properly and successfully availed themselves of the review provisions of the Uniform Arbitration Act. Cf. Decker, 205 F.3d at 909. Code 8.01-581.08, 8.01-581.010, and 8.01-581.011 provide the sole mechanisms in the Uniform Arbitration Act for challenging errors in the award.