Once an arbitrator has issued an “award,” the arbitrator can alter or amend the award only within a prescribed time period and for strictly limited reasons.  CCP 1283.4.  Also, entry of an award triggers the court’s jurisdiction to consider a petition to confirm or vacate the award.  So whether an arbitrator’s ruling is an “award” has important consequences.  When the arbitrator issues a series of rulings, particularly in an arbitration that proceeds in multiple phases, how is one to tell which of the rulings is an award?  This decision answers that question, saying that to be considered an award, the ruling (either alone or in combination with earlier rulings) must determine all issues necessary to resolve the whole controversy (not just that portion of the controversy litigated in a particular phase of the arbitration).  An award may leave unaddressed only those issues incapable of resolution at that time because those issues are potential, conditional or contingent.  In assessing whether a ruling is an award, the court must consider the specific procedures adopted in the arbitration at issue.  In this case, the parties agreed to a three-phase arbitration.  The interim award entered after the second phase was not an “award” because it left the amount of attorney fees awarded to the plaintiff unresolved, even though that interim award resolved all the other issues in the controversy.  The attorney fee award issue was not potential, conditional or contingent.  It could be resolved, and was following the third phase of the arbitration.  Because the second phase interim award was not an “award,” the arbitrator retained jurisdiction to change it when she issued the third and final award.