In one of the most recent NAFTA awards, Glamis Gold v. United States, the United States (“US”) raised objections to the tribunal’s “subject matter jurisdiction” against Glamis’ claims of expropriation under NAFTA Chapter 11. The US argued that the Canadian mining company’s claims based on recently passed California legislation were not “ripe” because the legislative…

In a decision of 23 June 2009 (4A_62/2009), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court held that the right to be heard is not violated where an arbitral tribunal bases its decision on a written submission of a third party and the parties to the proceedings had enough time to comment on such written submission.By letter of…

The 9.10.2009 session of the New York Convention subcommittee of the IBA in Madrid saw a lively discussion on the topic of enforcement of annulled arbitral awards. The discussion related to the “Yukos Capital” decision issued by the Amsterdam Court of Appeals in April 2009. The Amsterdam Court of First Instance had previously upheld the…

Earlier this year, the ICSID ad hoc committee in the Sempra v. Argentina annulment proceedings decided to continue the stay of the enforcement of the tribunal’s award in that case for the duration of the annulment proceedings on the condition that Argentina pay USD 75 million into an escrow account. After Argentina failed to make…

It is always satisfying for an academic when research interests contribute to teaching. So, as I began teaching first year contracts this year, I read the 8 September 2009 award in Azpetrol International Holdings B.V., Azpetrol Group B.V. and Azpetrol Oil Services Group B.V. v. The Republic of Azerbaijan, ICSID Case No. ARB/06/15 (Azpetrol) with…

There is a lingering perception amongst the international arbitration community that English courts tend to be more interventionist in relation to arbitration proceedings and awards compared to some of their continental counterparts. In reality, English courts are much less interventionist than some imagine, despite provisions such as section 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996 which…

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…

In 2006, I conducted a review of the most frequently selected arbitrators in the then-pending 103 ICSID cases. (See “Precedent in Investment Treaty Arbitration: A Citation Analysis of a Developing Jurisprudence” (2007), 24 J. Int’l Arb 129). My 2006 review of the 103 pending ICSID cases (ranging from cases registered in February 1997 to November…

One can observe two rather opposing trends. On the one hand there is a steady (and more recently significant) increase in the number of arbitration cases; one the other hand there is a rather systematic criticism expressed by certain voices, predominately in the corporate world.Most well established institutions have recorded a 10% increase in their…

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…

As previously reported, in a decision rendered on 15 April 2009, an ICSID Tribunal declined jurisdiction to hear claims submitted by Phoenix Action Ltd (“Phoenix”) against the Czech Republic. Phoenix, an Israeli company, purchased two Czech companies, Benet Praha and Benet Group, in 2002 while these two companies were involved in ongoing legal disputes. The…

I have been reading with interest the ILA’s Final Report and Recommendation on Res Judicata and Arbitration adopted at the 2006 Toronto conference. Recommendation 2 provides that: The conclusive and preclusive effects of arbitral awards in further arbitral proceedings set forth below need not necessarily be governed by national law and may be governed by…

As arbitration continues its upward trajectory in the world of dispute resolution, eyes have remained fixed on legal developments in China. With the significant growth of international transactions involving Chinese parties, there has been an equally staggering rise in the number of disputes. In China, arbitration has quickly become an accepted method of resolving international…

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…

As international arbitration becomes ever more sophisticated and complex, one wonders whether it will continue to have the institutional capacity to address its protean tasks. Claims in the billions of dollars are now common. Thousands of individuals are affected by the outcome of a single arbitration decision. And the complexity of the cases is such…

The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) has recently proposed the inclusion of an “Emergency Arbitrator” procedure in the SCC Rules (see Draft New Rules with Notes). On 18 June 2009, the drafting committee for the Emergency Arbitrator proposal presented the main amendments gathered from the comments of the arbitration community to…

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…

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…

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…