Middlemiss and Gould v Hartley Corporation Pty Ltd: CA 1972

The defendant challenged enforcement of an arbitration award.
Held: The challenge had not been made in time, and the award was final and conclusive. Lord Denning MR said that an arbitration award is like a final judgment which should be enforced unless it can be shown to be invalid: ‘Once an Award has been made — and not challenged in the court — it should be entered as a judgment and given effect accordingly. It should not be held up because the losing party says he wants to argue some point or other or wants to set up a counterclaim or anything on that sort. He would not be allowed to do so in the case of a judgment not appealed from, nor should he do so in the case of an Award that he has not challenged. I am in agreement with what Diplock J said in [Margulies]: I think that it would be contrary to the purpose of section 26 of the Arbitration Act 1950 if in a case where the validity of the Award and the right to proceed upon it is beyond doubt, it should be given less effect than a judgment. In this case the judge was impressed by In Re Boks and Co and Peters, Rushton and Co Ltd [1919] 1 KB 491. But in that case the validity of the award was doubtful — very doubtful I would say — because of the illegality of the whole transaction. Naturally enough, no leave was given. But I think that Scrutton LJ went a good deal too far. He said at p497 that ‘this summary method of enforcing awards is only to be used in reasonably clear cases.’ I would put it just the opposite. I would say that it is to be used in nearly all cases. Leave should be given to enforce the award as a judgment unless there is real ground for doubting the validity of the award.’


Lord Denning MR, dmund Davies and Stephenson LJJ


[1972] 1 WLR 1643


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedNational Ability Sa v Tinna Oils and Chemicals Ltd CA 11-Dec-2009
Implied promise to pay arbitral award
The parties disputed how limitation affects the enforcement of an arbitration award. More than six years had passed since the award had been made, and the defendant said it was out of time.
Held: A party can enforce an award either by ordinary . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Arbitration, Litigation Practice

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.384110