Whenever litigating against states or sovereign entities – or international organisations for that matter – outside of their home jurisdiction there is a roadblock to consider: immunities. On closer inspection, immunities turn out as two roadblocks: immunity from jurisdiction and immunity from enforcement. Whereas the general assumption is that an agreement to arbitrate waives immunity…

In the recent ruling of 29 April 2020, the England and Wales Court of Appeal, departing from Sulamérica, has held the seat of arbitration as an implied choice of the law of the arbitration agreement in cases where parties expressly chose the law applicable to the main contract and the seat of arbitration under a…

The 1958 New York Convention (“NY Convention” or “Convention”) was adopted in the era when probably the fastest form of communication in which an arbitration agreement could have been concluded was via telegrams. The Convention requires written form for an arbitration agreement (clause) to be valid, but the electronic communication of our times had not…

The significance of an arbitration agreement’s proper law cannot be understated, given its importance vis-à-vis the arbitration agreement’s validity and consequent implications on the tribunal’s jurisdiction and the arbitral award’s enforceability. Notwithstanding this, parties rarely specify the arbitration agreement’s proper law – hence the need for a clear legal framework governing its determination. In BNA…

This post examines the admissibility of investment claim assignments based on the notion of Investor-State arbitration where there is no contractual relationship between the disputing parties. To do so, it draws on Jan Paulsson’s famous article titled Arbitration Without Privity.   Contract Assignments, Assignment of Claim and Arbitration Agreements The assignment of international contracts is…

During the recent visit of Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, to India, Brazil and India inked the investment cooperation and facilitation treaty (hereinafter bilateral investment treaty – BIT). From Brazil’s point of view, this BIT is an extension of a novel approach to foreign investment in international law based on investment facilitation and cooperation, not investment protection…

Over the past few months anti-corruption protesters in Lebanon have taken to the streets calling for widespread reforms to the Lebanese economic and political system. This has caused considerable strain on the country’s already frail economy. The first two weeks of the unrest saw a complete closure of banks with no possibility of making transfers…

Most of the contemporary discourses on pre-arbitral judicial interference in India entail the scope of the judicial enquiry required before the constitution of an arbitral tribunal. As it currently stands, Section 8 (for arbitrations seated in India) and Section 45 (for foreign-seated arbitrations) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“1996 Act”) have the potential…

The issue of unilateral appointment of a sole arbitrator by a party has been in the spotlight since the Supreme Court of India’s (“SC”) decision in Perkins Eastman Architects DPC & Anr. v. HSCC (India) Ltd. (“Perkins”) on 26 November 2019. This case largely puts the issue to rest by rendering unilateral sole arbitrator appointments…

Introduction Whenever the court is confronted with the task to determine the governing law of an arbitration agreement on the basis of knowing only (1) the stipulated governing law of the main contract and (2) the seat, a three-folded test will be applied. It inquires into (i) express choice, (ii) implied choice and (iii) closest…

Introduction On the 18th of February, the Court of Appeal in The Hague reversed the lower court’s decision annulling the awards rendered against the Russian Federation in Veteran Petroleum Ltd., Yukos Universal Ltd. and Hulley Enterprises Ltd. cases. The awards are thus revived. Notwithstanding the global notoriety and public controversy, the identity of the protagonists,…

On 20 January 2020, the Court of Appeal delivered its judgment in Kabab-Ji SAL (Lebanon) v. Kout Food Group (Kuwait) [2020] EWCA Civ 6. This post will focus on the Court’s findings on “no oral modification” (“NOM”) clauses and the impact that such clauses have on whether non-signatories to a commercial contract can be bound…

“Recourse to arbitration has now become a right of the competent ministry with the agreement of the Ministry of Finance. Whereas recourse to arbitration was previously an exception, now, this is a clear confirmation by the government of the importance of arbitration and the government’s commitment to participate in more rapid, cost-effective litigation.” – Saudi…

An asymmetrical arbitration clause is one where only one party can choose the method of resolving disputes between the parties. A slightly varied form of such a clause is usually contained in statutory arbitrations, which involve lop-sided arbitration clauses where only one party has the right to appoint the arbitrator. At first brush, these clauses…

One of David Guetta’s most famous songs is “When Love Takes Over”. Recent weeks have shown him that insolvency can also “take over”. The Commercial Court in Santander (Spain) ruled recently that an arbitration agreement signed by the agents of David Guetta ceased to produce effects due to the insolvency of the counterparty, the Spanish…

With over $3 billion invested by Vedanta Resources in Zambia since it became a shareholder in Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) in 2004, it is a less optimistic turn of events with Vedanta Resources and fellow shareholder, the government-owned Zambian State Mining Company ZCCM-IH (ZCCM), being at loggerheads in arbitration. In this post, we examine what…

In 2012, the Commercial District Court in Bijeljina (‘CDC’) finally declared that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the dispute between Elektrogospodarstvo Slovenije (‘Claimant’) on one side, and Rudnik i termelektrana Ugljevik A.D. (’Respondent’) on the other (Case reference no. 59 0 Ps 018507 12 Ps 3), with the High Commercial Court in Banja Luka (‘HCC’)…

When a party seeks to challenge the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal on the basis of the substantive invalidity of the arbitration agreement, the proper law of the arbitration agreement governs the inquiry. The prevailing approach adopted to determine the proper law of the arbitration agreement is the three-stage choice-of-law analysis set out in Sulamérica…

Introduction Agreements governing the relationship of shareholders to each other and to the company (e.g., shareholders’, investment or subscription agreements) (collectively, “SHAs”) frequently address matters of corporate law. In the Chinese context, this creates uncertainty whether a given SHA dispute would be arbitrable as a “contractual dispute” or ”property rights dispute”, as required by Article…

With as many as nine identified approaches to the potential applicable law to the arbitration agreement, Marc Blessing, as an experienced author, arbitrator and lawyer, could not help but ask: “Are we thus faced with a magnificent confusion?”. This post focuses on the approach that would most likely be followed in an international arbitration seated…

Under China’s arbitration regime for foreign-related arbitration and international arbitration, the concept of a juridical seat is a statutory juncture where, in cases with no express agreement on the applicable law between the parties, Chinese courts must determine the applicable law (statutory text is available in Chinese here and unofficial English translation here). Recently, in…

In the case of ZL Offshore [translation] (“ZL”) v PICC P&C Shipping Insurance Operation Centre [translation] (the “Operation Centre”) and PICC P&C Zhoushan City Branch [translation] (the “Zhoushan Branch”) pronounced on 20 March 2019 (2019 Min 72 Min Chu 149), the Xiamen Maritime Court (the “Court”) of People’s Republic of China dismissed the challenge against…

Although parties to international transactions frequently agree to arbitrate, they sometimes reconsider that commitment when a dispute arises, and look to challenge the validity of the arbitration agreement. Thanks to the separability presumption, the courts and the tribunals insulate the arbitration agreements from attacks on the underlying contract and uphold arbitration. However, the separability presumption…

Arbitration is often used to avoid the messy processes of national litigation, sometimes involving years of appeals and hearings. But when you want to attach property to support your arbitral award, that itself can result in years-long litigation, as in the case of Stemcor USA, Inc. v. Cia Siderurgica Do Para. The delays in the…