(AND WHY A RECENT ENGLISH HIGH COURT DECISION REMINDS US THAT A FINAL, BINDING AND CONCLUSIVE AWARD IS NOT NECESSARILY IMMUNE FROM CHALLENGE) Finality is a fundamental characteristic of arbitration and a key factor that attracts many parties to choose arbitration when providing for a contractual dispute resolution mechanism. This is because the ability to…

In 2006, the ICSID Arbitration Rules were amended to allow a party to make a preliminary objection to claims that are “manifestly without legal merit.” The procedure for this objection is embodied in Rule 41(5). An ICSID Tribunal composed of Dr. Briner (President), Professor Stern and Professor Böckstiegel, in Brandes Investment Partners, LP v. Venezuela…

For many years, no broad international consensus emerged on the existing protection for foreign investors as a result of differences of approaches between developed and developing States. As a result of this perceived lack of established customary principles, States concluded thousands of bilateral investment treaties in the 1990s for the promotion and the protection of…

The English Court of Appeal recently upheld a first instance decision to refuse enforcement of a US$20m New York Convention award in Dallah Estate and Tourism Holding Company v The Ministry of Religious Affairs, Government of Pakistan [2009] EWCA Civ 755, on the basis that the arbitration agreement was ‘not valid’ for the purposes of…

Introduction If a party during arbitral proceedings withdraws its claim and the other party does not exercise its right to request an award in respect of the withdrawn claim, it has been suggested in Swedish legal doctrine that the parties, under certain circumstances, may have implicitly agreed that the arbitration agreement shall cease to be…

Article 25 of the ICSID Convention, which draws the outer limits for the exercise of ICSID jurisdiction, does not define the concepts of “nationality” and “investment.” Aaron Broches, the principal author of the Convention, explains that this reflects a deliberate decision by the drafters to leave the choice of what constitutes an investment and who…

Given the fundamental nature of the exceptions to the recognition and enforcement under the New York Convention (the “Convention”) it should not be forgotten that their application is in fact discretionary: Article V.1 of the Convention states that “Recognition and enforcement of the award may be refused at the request of the party against whom…

The question of the existence of legal protection for foreign investors under customary international law has always been controversial. States have indeed entered into BITs precisely because of the lack of development of relevant custom rules in the field of international investment law. It is nonetheless largely agreed today that some rules of customary law…

In a decision rendered on April 15, 2009, a three-member tribunal composed of Brigitte Stern as chairperson, Andreas Bucher and Juan Fernandez-Armesto rejected Phoenix Action Ltd’s (“Phoenix”) claims against the Czech Republic. By way of background, Phoenix is an Israeli company which purchased two Czech companies, Benet Praha (“BP”) and Benet Group (“BG”), in 2002…

It is well accepted that state responsibility arises under international law for denial of justice. This might occur, for example, where a state court abuses its supervisory function over an international arbitration. In the investment treaty context, a denial of justice by host state courts would normally lead to a fairly straight forward breach of…

One of the benefits of international commercial arbitration is the ability to resolve disputes between the parties in a single, neutral forum that gives neither party a “home court advantage.” After a dispute arises, however, litigious parties sometimes engage in tactical maneuvering aimed at circumventing the parties’ agreement to arbitrate. A recent US case gives…

One of the greatest challenges for international arbitration in recent times is the users’ complaint that the process has become too costly. In-house counsel are under pressure to control costs, and they grumble that arbitrators and international arbitration counsel are not sufficiently responsive to their concerns. Outside counsel are rightly troubled by these complaints. Frustrating…

How should tribunals apply investment treaties to measures adopted during times of crisis? Recognizing crisis as the point at which foreign investors become most vulnerable (and therefore require the most protection), should tribunals guard against any temptation to dilute the rigor of external discipline? Conversely, recognizing crisis as the point at which states can lay…

In submitting his instructions to the American delegation attending the 1907 Second Hague Conference, Secretary of State Elihu Root argued that the Permanent Court of Arbitration system needed radical improvement. In his instructions he wrote: There can be no doubt that the principal objection to arbitration rests, not upon the unwillingness of nations to submit…

1. Is Arbitral Jurisprudence anything more than a myth? 2. How does persuasiveness of past awards operate? 3. Is Precedent the product of the intrinsic qualities of one or more particularly well-reasoned awards? 4. Why do arbitral awards need to be available? 5. Why is reliance on arbitral precedents not frequent? 6. Should all awards…

The already much debated Paris Court of appeal judgment in Tecnimont, rendered on 12 February 2009, has put into light the dangers arising from the lack of uniformity in the field of conflict disclosure. The Paris Court of appeal has quashed a partial award because the chairman of the arbitral tribunal, a well-known international arbitrator…

When does a most-favoured-nation (MFN) treatment clause in an investment treaty confer jurisdiction on an investor-state arbitration tribunal? Most readers will be aware that in a series of decisions investment treaty tribunals have given very different responses to this question. On the one hand, a line of decisions suggests that, unless there is a express…

The Paris Court of appeal, on 25 September 2008, and the Swiss Federal Tribunal, on 5 December 2008 have rendered two interesting decisions. These two decisions address issues of primary importance, such as the “extension” of the arbitration agreement, joinders, and the scope of review by courts of award having declined the tribunal’s jurisdiction. These…

In a post last month, I offered a few thoughts on the future of moral damages in investment treaty arbitration. One arbitration where I thought we might see an award of moral damages is a case pitting a group of Dutch farmers (Funnekotter, et.al.) against the Government of Zimbabwe. By way of update, I wanted…

The relationship between Arbitration and European Judicial Private Law has not always been easy. The bedrock European Law principle in this field, as embedded in the European Council Regulation (EC) No. 44/2001 of December 22, 2000 on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (“the Judgment Regulation”), is the…

Dedicated to the late Thomas Wälde, The Future of Investment Arbitration examines some of the current pressures on investment arbitration and looks toward the future of the system as a whole. The authors address issues such as gaps in the procedural rules, the lack of development in certain substantive areas of international investment law, inconsistencies…

For international arbitrations seated in the United States, there has sometimes been a tension between the so-called “American rule” against the shifting of attorneys’ fees and litigation costs to the loser of the proceedings, and the more accepted practice of fee-shifting in international arbitrations as expressed in procedural rules such as the UNCITRAL and LCIA…

On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court decided Iran v. Elahi, a case that appears to fall within a data set of one. As I reported elsewhere, the case is extraordinarily complex, focusing on whether a terrorist victim judgment creditor can attach a confirmed arbitration award rendered in Iran’s favor. Although it involves exotic issues…