International Arbitration, from Athens to Locarno

By Jackson H. Ralston | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
INTERNATIONAL AWARDS

67. Power of majority to act. -- An award, very commonly called sentence, should be signed by all the arbitrators taking part therein, at least by all, not less than a majority, who concur in the conclusions.

Three copies of the awards of The Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration are customarily made, one for each of the parties and the third to remain in the archives of the court.

It is true as Acremant said: "You do not have to consider if it [the award] is by a majority or unanimously. It is the tribunal which decides."1

The question as to the sufficiency of an award in which only the majority concur has several times arisen and as many times been decided in favor of the power of the majority. For instance, the American commissioner in the case of the Reserved Fisheries claims with Great Britain declined to sign the award under the treaty "except with the unanimous consent of its members." The American Secretary of State argued in the same line. But after the English reply the award of the majority was carried out.2 The Supreme Court has recognized the power of the majority to act for the commission.3 In the Alabama case the British arbitrator refused to sign the award, but its entire validity was recognized notwithstanding, and the payment made.

Article 78 of the Hague Convention of 1907 provides that "all questions are decided by a majority of the members of the tribunal."

68. Reasoning set forth in awards. -- A question which has received much attention relates to the necessity for setting forth the reasoning upon which an award is based. Says Politis:

Without being yet obligatory, usage establishes the custom of giving reasons in sentences. It is introduced under the influence of the mixed Anglo-Saxon commissions where the commissioners, conforming to the custom of their country, give separately their opinion indicating the reasons upon which it is based. To the contrary the sentences of sovereigns are refractory to this usage.4

A number of writers have said or indicated that an award which did not contain the reasoning leading to the conclusions was of necessity null. For instance, Darras5 and Bureau6 go so far as to contend

____________________
1
La procédure dans les arbitrages internationaux,136.
2
Law and Procedure of International Tribunals, 109.
3
Columbia vs. Cauca Company, 190 U.S. 524.
4
La justice internationale, 87.
5
"De certains dangers de l'arbitrage international", Revue générale de droit international public, VI, 547.
6
Le conflit Italo-Colombien.

-90-

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