In holding that “Article 85 of the [EU] Treaty [now article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – TFEU] constitutes a fundamental provision which is essential for the accomplishment of the tasks entrusted to the Community and, in particular, for the functioning of the internal market”, and that “the provisions…

On 8 July 2009, the French Supreme Court rendered a decision confirming its position that the existence and the validity of an arbitration agreement should be determined primarily in light of the common intent of the parties (Société d’études et représentations navales et industrielles (SOERNI) et autres vs. Société Air Sea Broker limited (ASB), July…

In a recent decision dated 26 October 2009 (4A_428/2009), the Swiss Federal Tribunal held that a party that enters into a procedural agreement in parallel state court proceedings following unsuccessful compulsory judicial conciliation does not waive its right to arbitration when that party does not proceed on the merits without making any objections.

In two recent decisions, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court rejected petitions for annulment and revision of an arbitral award by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The decisions highlight the importance of raising new facts in arbitral proceedings without delay and as explicitly as possible.

The seat of an arbitration is a crucial factor. It determines the lex arbitri and the courts with supervisory jurisdiction over the arbitration. The important consequences of the seat require parties to choose the seat carefully. Cases where no seat is chosen by the parties are not uncommon. The English High Court in Shashoua v…

In a decision of 25 August 2009 (4A_160/2009), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court held that where a claimant by piercing the corporate veil can assert a contractual claim against the majority shareholder, all rights and obligations from the respective agreement, including the arbitration clause, become binding on the majority shareholder, thus precluding the jurisdiction of…

On September 9th, 2009, an intriguing editorial penned by Jeffrey Golden, a special US Counsel and global derivatives senior partner at Allen & Overy LLP, appeared on the Financial Times. It was titled “We Need a World Financial Court with Specialist Judges”. The reason why I bring this article to the attention of the readers…

On May 6, 2009, the French Supreme Court rendered a decision relating to the consequences of insolvency proceedings commenced in France against a party to pending international arbitration proceedings (Jean X. v. International Company For Commercial Exchanges (Income), May 6, 2009, Case no. 08-10281). A French company had signed three contracts for the sale of…

Summary In a decision of 6 October 2009 (4A.596/2008), the Swiss Federal Tribunal granted revision of a final international arbitral award that was influenced by fraud. This is the first time since the entry into force of the Federal Statute on the Federal Tribunal in 2007, and only the second time since the entry into…

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…

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 this case, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court decided that the right to be heard (art. 182 para. 3 of the Swiss Federal Act on International Private Law, “PILA”) does not encompass a right of the parties to be specifically heard with regard to the legal qualification of the facts they had introduced into the…

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…

In the same arbitration proceedings, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court had to decide twice -albeit based on different grounds – whether facts discovered after the issue of an award (so called “nova”) may entail the amendment of the rendered award. In these decisions the Swiss Federal Supreme Court had the opportunity to restate its rigorous…

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…

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…

Conference: Fifty Years of Bilateral Investment Treaties December 1-3, 2009, Frankfurt Fifty years ago, Germany and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan concluded the first ever bilateral investment treaty. To mark (and celebrate) this important milestone in the development of investment protection, the German Society for the Promotion of Foreign Investments (GFA) and the German Federal…

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…

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…

Under Swiss arbitration law, the validity of an arbitration agreement is in general subject to formal and substantive requirements (Article 178 of the PILA). With regard to the formal validity, Article 178(1) of the PILA requires the arbitration agreement to be in writing and allows the parties to use any means of communication which permits…

Germany has introduced an amendment to its Foreign Trade and Payments Act. It is a direct response to increased activities and acquisitions by sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), as they are often perceived to pursue economic as well as political aims. Despite this origin, the legislation does not only apply to SWFs. Instead, it allows the…

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…