We have all seen them. Provisions in arbitration clauses that say, in substance, that the award is final and cannot be challenged or appealed. Will courts enforce such a clause? The answer in federal courts in the United States is “somewhat.” In this column, we look at U.S. case law on the subject, as well as how courts deal with it in certain other countries.

A very recent decision on this issue is Beckley Oncology Associates v. Rami Abumasmah, MD, 993 F.3d 261 (4th Cir. 2021). The contract at issue there included an arbitration clause that, among other things, said that the decision of the arbitrator “shall be final and conclusive and enforceable in any court of competent jurisdiction without any right of judicial review or appeal.” A dispute arose that was arbitrated and that resulted in an award in favor of Abumasmah for $167,000. Beckley sought to vacate the award in federal district court.