In an order dated 28 January 2014 (file number III ZB 40/13), the German Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof, the “Court”) clarified that an arbitral award can only be set aside in recognition or enforcement proceedings by a state court in “extremely exceptional cases”, i.e. if an award breaches the fundamental principles of the German legal…

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 Roland Ziadé and Claudia Cavicchioli, Linklaters LLP On 17 December 2013, the Paris Court of Appeal added a new chapter to the Jnah vs. Marriott saga, when it ruled on an action to set aside an arbitral award issued on 3 February 2012 by which an arbitral tribunal denied jurisdiction over claims brought on…

and Nikki O’Sullivan, Senior Associate at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP In a recent decision of the English Commercial Court, Flaux J restated the general principle that the focus of an enquiry under Section 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (“the Act”) is to ascertain whether due process has been observed in the making of an…

By Justin D’Agostino and Yi-Shun Teoh In the latest instalment of Pacific China Holdings Ltd (in Liquidation) v Grand Pacific Holdings Ltd, the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal has confirmed that parties who unsuccessfully challenge arbitral awards will generally be ordered to pay costs on the indemnity basis. This is a relatively rare and…

Introduction On 01 January 2014, a government bill (ErläutRV 2322 BlgNR 23. GP) introducing changes to the Austrian Arbitration Law will come into force (SchiedsRÄG 2013). Mainly Sec. 615 and 616 of the Austrian Code of Civil Procedure (ACCP), which regulate the procedural levels for challenging an arbitration award in front of an Austrian state…

In a recent decision of the Swiss First Civil Law Court (X._____ v. Y.______, 4A_669/2012), an arbitral award was annulled on the basis that the arbitrator had violated the appellant’s right to be heard. Although the decision applies Swiss Federal law, the decision is relevant to practitioners in other jurisdictions which allow for annulment of…

A controversial decision by Qatar’s Court of Cassation has ruled on the necessity for arbitral awards to be rendered in the name of His Highness The Emir of Qatar. The said ruling issued on 12 June 2012 (Petition No. 64/2012) set aside an arbitral award rendered under the auspices of the Qatar International Center for…

It is not uncommon to see the losing party of an ICSID arbitration filing a frivolous request for annulment merely to engage the opposing party in settlement negotiations. Another frequent abuse of ICSID’s annulment mechanism is to attempt to re-litigate the merits at the annulment stage. An annulment proceeding under the ICSID Rules typically takes…

One of the most important elements to consider when participating in arbitration proceedings is the available mechanisms to challenge the award of the arbitral tribunal. This element acquires an added significance when it comes to international arbitration where the award may be enforced in several jurisdictions. With that in mind, it is pertinent to refer…

By Justin D’Agostino, Martin Wallace and Yi-Shun Teoh The Year of the Snake has begun auspiciously for arbitration in Hong Kong, with a recent decision of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (“CFA”) underlining once again the jurisdiction’s arbitration-friendly credentials and the reluctance of its courts to interfere with the arbitral process and arbitral…

by Kah Cheong Lye (Partner) and Chuan Tat Yeo (Associate), Norton Rose (Asia) LLP Like computer programs, the length of time between updates for institutional rules seems to get shorter and shorter. New editions of institutional arbitral rules were introduced by the SIAC in 2010, the ICC in 2012, and the HKIAC’s revised Administered Arbitration…

Arbitration is underpinned by natural justice. Article 18 of the Model Law, enshrining the right of the parties to be treated with equality, and given a full opportunity to present their case, was described by UNCITRAL in 1985 as the “Magna Carta of Arbitral Procedure”. Yet the Model Law does not in Articles 34 and…

It must be an arbitrator’s nightmare: Imagine a high-stake arbitration that goes on for years, the entire distance, including witness hearings and expert evidence, only for the final award to be set aside on procedural grounds. And this is exactly what the Frankfurt Court of Appeals (Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt) did in a judgment in February 2011:…

By Justin D’Agostino, Tracy Wu and Briana Young The Hong Kong Court of Appeal recently awarded indemnity costs against an applicant who attempted unsuccessfully to set aside an arbitral award. In a decision that many will welcome, the Hong Kong court has sent another strong message of support for the finality of the arbitral process….

On 13 January 2011, the Belgian Supreme Court (Cour de cassation/Hof van cassatie) ruled that an arbitral award could be set aside by a Belgian judge on the basis of a contradiction in the award’s motivation. In so ruling, the Belgian Supreme Court took a view opposite to that of the French Supreme Court (Cour…

When the Arbitrazh Court of Kemerovo Region in Siberia granted leave to recognize an annulled ICC award in 2011 for the first time, international and domestic commentators rushed to acclaim the new arbitration-friendly attitude of the Russian courts, thus placing Russia ‘into line with a select number of jurisdictions’ (e.g. France and the Netherlands). Some…

International consciousness that India is an arbitration unfriendly jurisdiction has existed for some time now. This feeling owes in part to seemingly interventionist judicial views, in part to the delays that are oft complained of about the Indian judicial system and in part to the lack of infrastructure necessary for any arbitration friendly destination. This…

In 1961, three years after the adoption of the New York Convention, the European Convention on International Commercial Arbitration was adopted in Geneva (the Geneva Convention). At the time, the Geneva Convention was noteworthy as being the first international instrument to refer to “international commercial arbitration” by name. Today, however, many practitioners give little consideration…

In Galsworthy Ltd of the Republic of Liberia v Glory of Wealth Shipping Pte Ltd [2010] SGHC 304 (“Galsworthy”), the Singapore High Court held that a losing party to an arbitration seeking to challenge an arbitral award had the “alternative and not cumulative options” of applying to set aside the award, or, applying to set…

In a recent decision, the Swiss Supreme Court examined whether contractual provisions contemplating certain procedural steps before initiating arbitration proceedings impacted the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal (Case no. 4A_46/2011 of 16 May 2011, to be published in ASA Bulletin, 2011. English translation to be published in Swiss International Arbitration Law Reports, 2011). The contract,…

Last year, around this time, I offered a list of 10 investor-state arbitral awards I hoped to see in 2010. If time permits, I may do another list for 2011. But, first I thought I’d take a look back at last year’s list and offer a brief update on those cases. Rather, than do all…

Even casual observers of American arbitration law will have encountered the “manifest disregard of the law” doctrine. It has been invoked for decades by litigants seeking to set aside (vacate) an award under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). The doctrine is just one example of why the regime affecting commercial arbitration in the United States…