On 20 January 2020, the Court of Appeal delivered its judgment in Kabab-Ji SAL (Lebanon) v. Kout Food Group (Kuwait) [2020] EWCA Civ 6. This post will focus on the Court’s findings on “no oral modification” (“NOM”) clauses and the impact that such clauses have on whether non-signatories to a commercial contract can be bound…

Private antitrust actions were long thought to be non-arbitrable due to the public law character of antitrust law, though the scope of non-arbitrability has been reduced to varying extents in different jurisdictions. For instance, US courts had long adhered to the so-called “American Safety doctrine”, which limited the arbitrability of domestic antirust disputes. The scope of…

In a previous post, which discussed the Ballantines award, the author concluded that doors for dual nationals’ claims are being closed, including for non-ICSID cases where the relevant treaty does not have a provision dealing with the issue. The recent Heemsen v. Venezuela jurisdictional award confirms this approach. Unanimously, a PCA tribunal declined jurisdiction over…

More than four years have passed since the Armenian Cassation Court—the highest court in Armenia—held in its EKD/1910/02/13 (2014) decision (“Cassation Court Decision”) that only state courts may exercise jurisdiction over the issue of contract invalidity (see previous post). To recall, the Cassation Court reasoned that civil rights could be protected through judicial, administrative or…

It is said that states lose more times than investors in investment arbitration. Indeed, ICSID surveys reveal that while investors receive an award of costs in 41.4% of the cases, states receive a similar award of costs only in 23% of the cases, even when jurisdiction is fully declined. A case where a state prevails…

Introduction In March 2019 China’s Tianjin 1st Intermediate Court (“Tianjin Court”) rendered a decision dated 4 March 2019 (2018 Jin-01-Xie-Wai-Ren No. 1), granting an application for recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award rendered by a sole arbitrator under the rules of the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (“KCAB”). The decision reflects an increasing trend of…

Arbitration is one of the preferred modes of private dispute settlement. Off its several traits, the cornerstone is the fact that it is based primarily on party autonomy and enables the parties to control almost all aspect of it. On the other hand, States put in place a different review and/or control mechanism on the…

This Post analyzes the recent award in Fábrica de Vidrios Los Andes, C.A. & Owens-Illinois de Venezuela, C.A. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (“Favianca”). This is the first award to rely on Article 72 of the ICSID Convention to decline jurisdiction over a claim filed after Venezuela had noticed it would denounce the ICSID Convention…

The Twenty-eighth ITF Public Conference on Economic Crime and International Investment Law, hosted by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) on 22 May 2017, attracted 13 distinguished speakers and more than 100 participants for a day discussion on the issues of economic crime in investor-state arbitration. The conference provided a forum for…

Introduction On 12 July 2016, a five-member arbitral tribunal (the Tribunal) constituted under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) issued its long-awaited award on the merits in an arbitration brought by the Philippines against China. The tribunal’s jurisdiction is derived from UNCLOS; all State parties to UNCLOS…

By a Final Award dated 27 October 2015 (see ICSID Case No. ARB/11/33 – Adel A Hamadi Al Tamimi v. Sultanate of Oman), an international tribunal constituted under the International Convention for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), also commonly referred to as the Washington Convention, dismissed all claims brought by a US national against the…

As Mariel Dimsey has observed, a key challenge posed by investment treaties is that – at the point of ratification – they expose States to arbitrations of ‘as-yet-unknown scope and against as-yet-unknown claimants’. Gus van Harten and Martin Loughlin argue that this feature differentiates investment disputes from those heard in other fora, transforming investment disputes into something akin to ‘domestic judicial review of state conduct’….

On 27 July 2015 the Bill amending to the Brazilian Arbitration Law will come into force, introducing significant changes in the arbitration legal framework, which, according to the stated purpose of the amendments, aim at improving the original Brazilian Arbitration Law, enacted in 1996. The amendments attempt to consolidate established practices as well as settling…

It is well known that the Singapore Court of Appeal refused enforcement of Awards in favour of Astro in 2013 (discussed here), on the grounds that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction over the claimants. The same Awards have now been enforced against First Media, a Lippo company, in Hong Kong (Astro Nusantara International B.V. v PT…

and Paul Tan, Jawad Ahmad and Victor Steinmetz, Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP In what marks the first time where a Singapore court reviews an investment arbitral tribunal’s jurisdiction, the High Court held in Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic v Sanum Investments Ltd [2015] SGHC 15 that, contrary to the tribunal’s findings, the…

An arbitral award (PCA Case No. 2011-17, 31 January 2014) arising out of the nationalisation of an electricity generation business in Bolivia has provided useful guidance on: (1) the ability of multiple investor claimants to bring joint claims against a state under separate BITs in a single proceeding; and (2) the time at which a…

Arbitration proceedings sometimes spawn a host of parallel court proceedings.  It is not unheard for parties to seek to instrumentalise courts, sometimes with the complicity of the courts themselves, to escape the jurisdiction of an arbitral tribunal.  Such conduct may, however, expose parties to liability for breach of the arbitration agreement, as was confirmed by…

By Carmen Núñez-Lagos and Javier García Olmedo In an award rendered on 31 January 2014, an arbitral tribunal constituted under the UNCITRAL Rules declined jurisdiction over the claims brought by one of two claimants against the Plurinational State of Bolivia on the basis of the application of a denial of benefits clause in the US-Bolivia…

The Brazilian Superior Court of Justice (“STJ”) has issued, on 19 June 2013, a landmark decision addressing the principle of Kompetenz-Kompetenz (Resp. no. 1,278,852-MG Samarco Mineração S/A v Jerson Valadares da Cruz). The decision deals with the allocation of competence between arbitral tribunals and national courts to decide on the validity of an arbitration agreement….

and Benjamin Ainsley Gill When seeking to extend an arbitration clause to a third party who is not a signatory to the clause, common law practitioners will often have resort to an argument that the corporate veil should be pierced – in other words, that the court or tribunal should disregard the separate legal identity…

In a recent decision, the Mauritian Supreme Court has roundly rejected a challenge to an arbitrator’s jurisdiction brought under section 20 of the Mauritian International Arbitration Act 2008, and in doing so touched upon the interesting question of the standard of review in such cases. Section 20 of the International Arbitration Act 2008 (“IAA”) allows…

Nathalie Voser and Anya George Few Swiss cases have sparked as much debate in the arbitration community as the Swiss Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Vivendi vs. Elektrim. In that decision, the Supreme Court upheld the award of an arbitral tribunal seated in Switzerland which had declined jurisdiction over one of the respondents, Elektrim, after…

A recent decision of the Brazilian Superior Court of Justice (“STJ”) has ruled, for the first time, on the issue of the concurrent jurisdiction of national courts and arbitral tribunals with respect to the making of interim measures (Itarumã Participações S.A. v Participações em Complexos Bioenergéticos S.A. – PCBIOS, Resp no. 1,297,974-RJ). The decision is…

Investment arbitration under intra-EU investment treaties has been a controversial topic for years. The European Commission has repeatedly expressed the view that arbitration clauses in bilateral investment treaties between EU Member States are in conflict with EU law and therefore inoperative, while arbitral tribunals have, on several occasions, assumed jurisdiction on the basis of such…