ICSID arbitration proceedings against Germany (Vattenfall AB, Vattenfall Europe AG, Vattenfall Europe Generation AG & Co. KG v. Federal Republic of Germany – ICSID On April 17, 2009, the government-owned Swedish energy company Vattenfall initiated Case No. ARB/09/6, reported in IA Reporter, April 2nd, 2009 (Vol. 2, No. 6)). The dispute concerns the construction by…

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…

Kluwer Arbitration Blog is pleased to introduce Alexis Mourre as a guest blogger for the next month. Alexis specialises in international arbitration and international litigation with the law firm of Castalde Mourre & Partners in Paris. He has served as counsel to party, co-arbitrator, sole arbitrator or expert in more than 80 international arbitral procedures,…

In a decision dated 5 December 2008 (4A_376/2008), the Swiss Federal Court (“SFC”) had the opportunity to address two legal topics in the context of international arbitration: The first topic was the interpretation of a pathological arbitration clause. B___ Ltd. (“Claimant-Company”) had initiated arbitration proceedings in Lugano under the ICC rules against A.___ (“Respondent”) on…

In two recently reported cases, parties to arbitrations have challenged arbitrator and/or institutional fees where the underlying awards have also been subject to annulment or set aside proceedings. Are these cases isolated instances or do they signal an increased trend? The answer may have widespread ramifications for how, and where, arbitrations are conducted and administered….

In a recent decision of 22 January 2009 (4A_424/2008), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court had to consider an appeal against a decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). In the run-up to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, a qualifying competition was held for the women’s Olympic hockey tournament. The Spanish team won…

A recent decision of the English High Court (F Ltd v M Ltd [2009] EWHC 275 (TCC)) confirms that the Court may intervene and allow successful challenge of an arbitral award in order to protect parties against the unfair conduct of an arbitration. However, the case also demonstrates that the applicable test (i.e. a serious…

I. Introduction On 9 February 2009 the Swiss Federal Tribunal (FT) quashed a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) award (Case reference 4A_400/2008). Annulment of an award is a rare enough event to call attention in itself, though this case warrants further inspection. The issue is not the choice of the applicable law (Article 187…

Article 186 of the Swiss Private International Law Act (“PIL Act”) provides as follows: “1. The arbitral tribunal shall decide on its own jurisdiction. 1bis. It shall decide on its jurisdiction notwithstanding an action on the same matter between the same parties already pending before a state court or another arbitral tribunal, unless there are…

The mechanism for referring questions regarding a preliminary ruling allows the national judge to ask the ECJ for a clarification on a point of EC law. Art 234 EC Treaty, governing preliminary rulings before the ECJ, applies to national courts or tribunals ruling as courts of final appeal and it does not open up directly…

Last week I attended a wonderful conference at Pepperdine Law School on international sports arbitrations administered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). It is a remarkably sophisticated regime that deserves far greater attention than it typically receives by the international arbitration community. Under the CAS Rules, all CAS tribunals have their seat in…

This week, many are talking about the long-awaited European Court of Justice judgments which have held Sweden and Austria in breach of their European Community Law obligations. (A third case against Finland has been delayed slightly, but will likely be resolved in the same way by the ECJ). According to the ECJ, Austria and Sweden…

In its decision of 9 December 2008 (4A_403/2008), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court took the opportunity to clarify its practice regarding the enforcement of arbitral awards that are suspended at the foreign seat of arbitration. In the case before the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, Company Y requested recognition in Switzerland of an arbitral award rendered…

On October 9, 2008, the Paris Court of Appeal rendered two decisions confirming the importance of estoppel in international arbitration. See Merial SAS v. Klocke Verpackungs – Service GmbH, October 9, 2008, Case no. 07-06619; Marocaine des Loisirs v. France Quick SAS, October 9, 2008, Case no. 07-14539.

To enhance predictability when litigating disputes arising out of international business transactions, the U.S. signed the June 30, 2005 Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements (the “Convention”) on January 19, 2009. In the U.S., such clauses are typically referred to as forum selection clauses, which are almost always included in contracts arising out of…

In a recent decision dated 10 October 2008 (4A_224/2008), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court found an arbitral tribunal competent to decide on a party’s request that its contractual partner should refrain from calling a bank guarantee. A Turkish company active in the production of fertilizer (X A.S.) had concluded a construction contract under which its…

The European Court of Justice issued its eagerly awaited judgment in the so-called West Tankers or Front Comor case on 10 February 2009. To many in the arbitration community, especially those based in London, it will come as a disappointing, if not altogether surprising, conclusion of a lengthy legal saga, which began over eight years…

In its decision of 6 October 2008 (5A_201/2008), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court had another opportunity to address its practice regarding conflicts of interests of part-time judges and arbitrators. It had stated in earlier decisions that a judge is deemed to be biased if he or she acts or recently acted as counsel for one…