Dispute Resolution, Litigation, Arbitration

Latest rules on appellate review of CIAC arbitral awards (as amended on 17 February 2023)

In a recent 63-page decision, the Supreme Court held that arbitral awards of the Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC) are reviewable directly and exclusively by the Supreme Court on a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court on pure questions of law only.

The decision in Global Medical Center of Laguna, Inc. vs. Ross Systems International, Inc. G.R. No. 230112/G.R. No. 230119 dated May 11, 2021, released on August 6, 2021, abandons earlier decisions of the Court and effectively modifies Rule 43 of the Rules of Court which had stated that CIAC arbitral awards were appealable to the Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court provided two exceptions to the general rule of its direct and exclusive review of CIAC awards.

In cases where one party takes issue regarding the (a) integrity of an arbitral tribunal on the grounds of corruption, fraud, misconduct, evident partiality, incapacity or excess of powers within the tribunal, or (b) with the unconstitutionality or illegality of its actions in the arbitral process, the aggrieved party may file a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals under Rule 65, on grounds of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess in jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court emphasized that “(u)nder no other circumstances other than the limited grounds provided above may parties appeal to the CA a CIAC arbitral award.”

With the latest ruling, the Supreme Court reverts to the original intent of Executive Order No. 1008, the law creating the CIAC, which provided that CIAC arbitral awards are binding upon the parties and shall be final and not appealable except on questions of law which shall be appealable to the Supreme Court.

Click here to read the entire case of Global Medical Center of Laguna, Inc. vs. Ross Systems International, Inc. G.R. No. 230112/G.R. No. 230119 dated May 11, 2021.

* This articles has been amended by the article Latest (2023) CIAC Rules of Procedure (as of 17 February 2023).

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