The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) arrangements provided in Chapter 14 of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) are a radical shift from those that have been in force for the past 25 years under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As explored in Wednesday’s post, Canada has effectively opted-out of ISDS under…

Public policy defences to the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards continue to generate uncertainty. Under Article V(2)(b) of the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention”), an award may be refused recognition or enforcement if “[t]he recognition or enforcement of the award would be contrary…

The availability and scope of ‘discovery’ or document production significantly differs across jurisdictions, most notably when comparing litigation in common law and civil law courts. In the field of international arbitration, the compromise position adopted by the International Bar Association’s Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration is to permit disclosure of documents…

2019 has seen a series of important arbitration-related developments for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. This post highlights selected key arbitration developments in these States from the past 12 months. It focuses on several domestic arbitration law reform efforts and on important developments in respect of investor-State arbitration.   Domestic Arbitration: Legal Developments and…

Amidst the typical hustle and bustle of year-end festivities, our Southeast Asia editorial team takes a moment to look back on the arbitration developments in Southeast Asia in 2019.   New Free Trade Agreements and Developments in National Laws In 2019, states comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (“ASEAN”) continued to demonstrate their commitment…

“Listening conveys respect to the speaker, which in turn engenders respect for the listener. People who are respected because they listen will have more influence when they speak.” Bill Marsh in Don’t Sit On Your Ass[ets] – Part 2: The Arguments. Over the last couple of months, the Kluwer Mediation Blog has offered posts on…

For the first time, the High Court held in its decision in the Rinehart dispute that the ordinary principles of contractual interpretation must be applied when interpreting the scope of arbitration clauses. While this approach is consistent with modern contractual interpretation, it may deter parties from selecting Australian law to govern arbitration agreements. This post…

The signing of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (“IACEPA“) on 4 March 2019 marked an important milestone for both States (as covered in a post earlier this week). Given that both Indonesia and Australia have their reservations on investor-state dispute settlement (“ISDS“) processes, it is interesting to see that the IACEPA contains a chapter…

Last month, Australia and Indonesia signed the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (‘IA-CEPA’), containing in Chapter 14 provisions related to the protection of foreign investments. Negotiations of an IA-CEPA were initially announced in 2010, and formally began in September 2012. The negotiations were thereafter suspended, but relaunched in March 2016. Signature and ratification of the…

The different approaches to arbitration between courts in Australia and Singapore have been illustrated in two cases in the last 2 years – KVC Rice Intertrade Co Ltd v Asian Mineral Resources Pte Ltd [2017] SGHC 32 and Hursdman v Ekactrm Solutions Pty Ltd [2018] SASC 112. The Singapore approach typified by KVC is to…

Last year was a busy one for arbitration practitioners in Australia and New Zealand, and 2019 looks set to be even busier. In 2018, both countries initiated a range of arbitration reforms, initiatives and negotiations which give insights into the likely general direction of travel for both countries in the coming year. This post focusses…

With some fanfare, on the sidelines of the ICCA Congress hosted in Sydney over 15-18 April, the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) unveiled a glossy brochure entitled “Australia’s Capability in International Commercial Arbitration”. This blog posting explains its key contents, identifying both convincing and unconvincing aspects. Our later blog posting will compare Japan as…

Australia has been known for taking a somewhat controversial approach to the confidentiality of arbitral proceedings. However, the legislature, to the international arbitration community’s sigh of relief, has intervened to change the law and bring opt-out confidentiality to international commercial arbitrations seated in Australia (see Michael Pryles, ‘National Report – Australia’ in The ICCA International…

New Zealand now officially opposes investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), thanks to the election of a new centre-left Labour-led coalition government that took office in October 2017. In a post-Cabinet press conference on 31 October, Prime Minister Jacinda Adern announced that: “We remain determined to do our utmost to amend the ISDS provisions of TPP. In…

Overview In 2015, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria highlighted the importance of positioning Australia as one of the next significant regional commercial hubs. Her Honour reiterated this position in a 2017 speech. Interestingly, similar, yet more subtle, comments were featured in a speech in 2009. Other Australian courts have made similar…

Singapore and Hong Kong are now considered to be amongst the top arbitration seats in the world, rivalling the long-established seats of London, Paris and Geneva. Perpetuating their dominance in the region, parties to contracts in the Asia-Pacific often choose either of these seats by default with no consideration of alternatives. This is underpinned, to…

On 22 March 2017, with minimal fanfare, the Civil Law and Justice Amendment Legislation Bill 2017 (“2017 Bill”) was introduced into the upper house of the federal Parliament. Buried within this omnibus Bill were four proposed reforms to the International Arbitration Act (IAA), renamed as such in 1989 when Australia was one of the first…

Introduction Western Australia has many of the hallmarks of an arbitral hub: from a stable liberal democracy, a reliable and predictable judiciary, and very low rates of corruption, to offices of numerous national and international law firms, world-standard business hotels (albeit only a recent arrival), and an efficient international airport (again, only of late, but…

Recent developments in the international investment scene have also impacted the Asian region. Notably, China and Southeast Asia have emerged not just as growing foreign direct investment (FDI) recipients but also as major sources of outbound FDI. In parallel, the Asian region experienced a proliferation in international investment agreements (IIAs). Asian countries were initially hesitant…

On 1 January 2017, the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (‘ACICA’) released a new Guideline on the Use of Tribunal Secretaries. This new Guideline addresses a silence in the existing ACICA Arbitration Rules as to the scope for tribunals to appoint arbitral secretaries, and the basis upon which they might be appointed. This post…

On 30 November, Australia’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) released its Report 165 on its inquiry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). JSCOT is a 16-member parliamentary committee tasked with advising the Australian parliament on ratification of treaties. This article presents an overview and discussion of the Report’s findings on ISDS, the most common…

Critics of the TPP, and ISDS protections more generally, have often argued that a particular concern is that the US is not only a large source of FDI, but that it is ‘the nation whose corporations use ISDS the most’ (referring to ANU’s Professor Thomas Faunce). A recent paper by ANU’s Dr Kyla Tienhaara for…

In the United States, approval prospects may appear bleak for the Trans-Pacific Partnership  Agreement (“TPP”) – at least at present. The current political climate appears generally negative on trade, and even Vice President Joe Biden stated recently that he saw “less than an even chance” that TPP would be approved before the new U.S. president…

On 11 April 2016, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (“Timor-Leste”) commenced the first ever compulsory conciliation proceedings under Annex V, section 2 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (“UNCLOS”). The proceedings concern the disputed maritime boundary between Timor-Leste and Australia in the Timor Sea. Australia objected to the conciliation on…