Not all technology is born equal. In 1739, the French inventor and artist Jacques de Vaucanson unveiled a head-scratching automaton that fascinated contemporaries for more than a century. It was a ‘digesting duck’, which had the apparent ability to eat kernels and actually digest them. The invention was a trick, of course, and it was…

Recent years have seen an uptick in the expansion and enforcement of anti-corruption laws worldwide. In 2017, China amended its Anti-Unfair Competition Law, broadening the scope of bribe recipients covered by the law, and increasing penalties. In 2019, Italy widened its anti-bribery law, No. 3/2019, increasing penalties for both individuals and companies found guilty of…

Long before the now-popular phrase “pale, male, and stale,” leading arbitrators were instead often referred to as a “club,” a “cartel,” or even a “monopoly.” Those references were meant metaphorically, even jokingly. The irony is that they turn out to hold important truths that are promiscuously intertwined with the pale-male-stale moniker. To understand both, we…

Background There is much public discourse on the impact of the ongoing pandemic on international arbitrations. Commentators and scholars have provided perspectives on how to navigate and find safe harbours in the uncharted waters of COVID-19. In the “new normal” of wide-ranging travel advisories and restrictions, there is an emerging consensus to better integrate the…

It is not uncommon to encounter international arbitration cases in which one party, usually the respondent, refuses to pay the advance on costs set by the institution. This may occur when that party objects to the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal or there is a risk that the advance will not be recovered after the…

Remote hearings are nothing new, but the COVID-19 crisis has forced international arbitration out of its comfort zone. Parties, counsel, and arbitrators must adapt to the new reality of conducting proceedings in the face of travel restrictions and social distancing measures. One particularly thorny question is whether and to what extent planned physical hearings that…

During a vivid “virtual” presentation delivered by the well-known arbitrator, professor and practitioner, Gary Born, the topic of virtual hearings was addressed. Another well-known international arbitrator, Elena Gutierrez García and the President of the AMCHAM-Peru Arbitration Center, José Daniel Amado, moderated the discussion. At the outset, Mr. Born clarified that virtual hearings are not a…

Last week BCLP released the results of its annual International Arbitration survey on the topic of appeals against a tribunal’s decision on the merits. Respondents to the survey comprised arbitrators, corporate counsel, external lawyers, litigation funders, academics and those working at arbitral institutions. Procedures for court challenge of an award on the basis of procedural…

In the recent ruling of 29 April 2020, the England and Wales Court of Appeal, departing from Sulamérica, has held the seat of arbitration as an implied choice of the law of the arbitration agreement in cases where parties expressly chose the law applicable to the main contract and the seat of arbitration under a…

On 28 January 2020, the arbitration panel has been formed in the dispute between the EU and Ukraine regarding Ukraine’s export prohibition of unprocessed timber. Notably, this is the first dispute between the EU and Ukraine under the Association Agreement (“EU-Ukraine AA”), and here, the EU invokes the dispute settlement mechanism provided by the free-trade…

Although some might have considered 2019 a bit “lackluster”, a number of noteworthy decisions by the Paris Court of Appeal and French Supreme Court have come to refine on the now well-established French case law on international arbitration. Beyond the issue of claims brought by dual nationals discussed elsewhere on this blog, French courts have…

On September 4, 2019, Esso, a subsidiary of the Exxon Mobil Corporation, and Shell Nigeria, a subsidiary of the Shell Oil Company (collectively “Esso”), attempted to enforce a $1.799 billion arbitral award in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York after it had been annulled in the courts of Nigeria (Esso Opinion)….

Readers of the Kluwer Arbitration Blog will be very familiar with the drama surrounding the European Union’s (EU) pushback against intra-EU investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) as contained in intra-EU bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and in particular the “clap of thunder” Achmea (C-284/16) judgment (on this blog see, e.g. here). According to the Court of Justice…

Gender and ethnic inequalities in the workplace have been the norm for decades with no effective measures been taken to address them, despite mounting evidence of discrimination and disadvantage faced by women and ethnic minorities across the world. Globally, most corporations, law-firms, government agencies, public offices recognize the need for diversity to enhance decision-making and…

In the last few years, the international arbitration community has started to engage in discussions on the digital transformation of dispute resolution and on artificial intelligence (also on this blog). Scholars and arbitration practitioners have been speculating on how artificial intelligence might be used in arbitral proceedings and the potential impact it might have on…

In 2019, the Swiss Supreme Court (“Supreme Court”) seized two opportunities to confirm and develop its existing case law in relation to the personal scope of arbitration agreements and their possible extension to non-signatories.   Extension to Non-Signatories under the New York Convention In a first decision, ATF 145 III 199, dated 17 April 2019,…

On November 22, 2019, the acting government of Spain passed a long-anticipated legislation in response to more than four dozen of international arbitrations that, since late 2013, have been filed continuously against the country. The Royal Decree-Law 17/2019 (‘RDL 17/2019’) is, therefore, an attempt to provide new incentives and more certainty to the renewable energy…

2019 has been a busy year for international arbitration in Sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, the year has brought an interesting wave of precedents, new domestic statutes, modern international investment agreements, and arbitration events. This post highlights and summarises some of the African developments covered in the Blog in 2019, with many thanks to the authors who…

The swift and far-reaching development experienced by arbitration in Spain over the past few decades is unprecedented in the context of other arbitration-friendly jurisdictions. In little more than 40 years, a fully-fledged arbitration system was set up virtually from scratch. In 1977 Spain ratified the New York Convention without reservation, thus entering the international arbitration…

The Vienna Convention rules for treaty interpretation (VCLT) routinely referred to by all international courts and tribunals are known to be the result of a compromise between different schools of interpretation and therefore notoriously flexible, in my view too flexible for the purposes of modern-day international dispute resolution. Cases are therefore won and lost according…

On 24 October 2019, the European Commission announced that the EU Member States have reached agreement on a plurilateral treaty for the termination of all ca. 190 intra-EU bilateral investment treaties (BITs). The agreement follows the political Declarations of the Member States issued in January this year in which they explained the consequences they are…

In its recent decision T-354/2019, the Colombian Constitutional Court, through one of its chambers, declared that arbitration awards, issued in international arbitrations seated in Colombia, may be subject to constitutional challenges by means of the so-called acción de tutela. As described in another post , the Court decided that the tutela was inadmissible in the…

Under French law, the principle is that both a request to set aside an award and an appeal of a decision upholding enforcement (ordonnance d’exequatur) have no suspensive effect (Article 1526(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure, ‘CCP’), so that an international arbitral award is immediately enforceable. However, as an exception, stay or adjustment of…

Essential Role of Effective Case Management in Arbitration Throughout the second half of the 20th century, arbitration has become a dominant and preferred method for resolving international disputes. Its advantages are widely known. This being said, international arbitration suffers nowadays from increasing costs and duration of the proceedings. It is less efficient than it promises….