Reflecting on fallout from economic and geopolitical turmoil since the financial crisis of 2008, the 31st Annual ITA Workshop and Annual Meeting, held in Dallas on June 19-21, 2019, focused on how to adjudicate changed circumstances in international arbitration. Keynote speakers and panelists engaged in lively debates on how domestic and international legal principles on…

On March 27, 2019, Washington, D.C. hosted the 16th annual ITA-ASIL Conference discussing the impact of State parties in contract-based arbitrations.  Also known as private-public and “investomercial” arbitration, this genre of arbitration has recently grown due to, among other things, privatization processes, concession agreements, as well as conditions imposed by lenders and insurance companies. Providing…

Arbitral institutions commonly offer model arbitration clauses for parties to incorporate into their contracts. Gary Born has stated that “[i]n the overwhelming majority of cases, … international arbitration agreements are straightforward exercises, adopting either entirely or principally the model, time-tested clauses of a leading arbitral institution.” But there is reason to question whether that is…

Jay-Z changed the rap game. Can he change the arbitration game? In a new lawsuit, the rap star (legal name: Shawn C. Carter) seems to be trying. Carter has recently won a temporary order staying arbitration for a dispute in New York. The memorandum of law in support of the petition for a stay (filed…

On the 60th anniversary of the New York Convention, we can generally conclude that the public policy basis for refusing to enforce an arbitration award has for the most part worked as the drafters intended. The drafters knew that by permitting courts to refuse to enforce foreign arbitral awards based on public policy, they were…

It’s been decades since arbitration has started its emancipation from conflict of laws rules (private international law). Many were of the opinion, and still are, that conflict of laws rules are an undesirable straitjacket forcing the arbitral tribunal to determine the applicable law according to rigid and complicated rules and thus hindering it from considering…

The 30th Annual ITA Workshop on Multiple Proceedings, Multiple Parties, and International Arbitration: What a Tangled Web We Weave, took place in Dallas, Texas on 20-22 June 2018.  Co-chairing were Erica Stein (Dechert), Jean-Christophe Honlet (Dentons), and Frédéric G. Sourgens (Washburn University).  The workshop, a lead event of the ITA, was dedicated to an in-depth…

The question of voluntary and mandatory ADR including arbitration has been a richly debated topic in many jurisdictions. Since the mid-twentieth century, the question of achieving procedural and substantive justice in the context of judicial dispute resolution has received significant attention beginning with the work of Owen Fiss and Lon Fuller who articulated early insights…

ISDS tribunals have an unfortunately accurate reputation for being “male, pale, and stale”. A welcome backlash to this state of affairs has arisen, but the discourse has focused almost entirely on one aspect of diversity: gender. For example, the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge has garnered over 2900 signatories, who have committed to appointing more…

The past few months have witnessed several momentous developments for international arbitration in Africa. Angola, Cabo Verde, and Sudan acceded to the New York Convention; South Africa adopted a new International Arbitration Act; the OHADA Council of Ministers adopted three new texts on arbitration and mediation; and the Nigerian Arbitration and Conciliation Act (Repeal and…

In the context of the backlash against investor-state dispute settlement (“ISDS”), one of the main criticisms is the asymmetric nature of investment treaties, which impose numerous obligations on the States, but do not seem to hold corporations accountable for the social, environmental and economic consequences of their activities. Some recent developments reflect a redirection away…

For many years, investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), supported by thousands of bilateral investment treaties (BITs), has served as the main mechanism for deciding investment disputes. This controversial system permits affected investors to sue states for damages before arbitral panels on the grounds that their investments have been treated unfairly. For many commentators, the main problem…

The 5th Annual ITA-IEL-ICC Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration was held in Houston last month, and the focus was on the year past and the year ahead in the arbitration of international disputes in the energy industry. From the topics discussed, predictions rendered and questions raised at the conference, attendees departed considering whether the…

The first publicly available decision issued under the international arbitration process provided for under the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (‘Bangladesh Accord’) (note that Roger Alford previously summarized the Bangladesh Accord’s dispute resolution clause here) was issued through the 4 September 2017 Decision on Admissibility Objection in Industrial Global Union and Uni…

In the forty years since new visions and challenges for the administration of American justice were offered at the 1976 Pound Conference, a Quiet Revolution has altered the landscape of public and private dispute resolution around the world. (See Living the Dream of ADR) Recently, a series of day-long meetings styled as the Global Pound…

The IBA Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest focus on when an arbitrator should disclose potential conflicts, as well as when he or she should simply not accept appointment. For the most part, they do not specifically address the potential disqualification of an arbitrator. Nonetheless, the Guidelines, even though non-binding, have become quite influential in the…

On 15 September 2017, the Chairman of the Administrative Council of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) designated new members to the Panel of Arbitrators and the Panel of Conciliators. This is momentous. For the first time, the lists contain an equal number of female and male members, and a geographical diversity…

The 29th Annual Workshop of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (“ITA”), which took place on 14-15 June 2017 in Dallas, focused on a timely subject of much importance to the future of international arbitration, namely, the “Challenges to the Legitimacy of International Arbitration.” The event was co-chaired by Caline Mouawad (King & Spalding), Jeremy K….

The last 40 years or so has experienced increased growth in the number of transactions concluded internationally, departing from classical one-shot contracts such as the simple sale of goods contract. These complex contracts involve in many instances a mix of private and public issues as is seen in regulatory sectors (telecommunications, oil and gas). The…

Who Should Regulate the International Bar? The regulation of professional ethics of the international bar is among the most hotly debated issues in international arbitration (inter-state, investor-state, and commercial). It reflects the regulatory gap that has developed as proceedings before international courts and tribunals have proliferated and counsel diversified. Addressing this issue is crucial, as…

In his 2014 Assenting Opinion on a security for costs motion in RSM v. Saint-Lucia, arbitrator Dr. Gavin Griffith Q.C. described third-party funders as “mercantile adventurers” and associated their activities with “gambling” and the “gambler’s Nirvana: Heads I win and Tails I do not lose.” This was no voice in the wilderness. The increasingly prevalent…

The answer to this question might seem simple, but consider an instance of a commercial arbitration between a Chinese company and an African state arising out of a failed railway project in Africa. Assume that all three arbitrators are European and from the civil law legal tradition. Assume further that they are experienced arbitrators of…

Newspapers, cable television shows, and Twitter are abuzz with claims of “fake news.” Within the past two weeks alone, the U.S. President accused his predecessor of wiretapping his office building, apparently in reliance upon reporting in online news media. More traditional news outlets have responded with innuendo that the Director of the U.S. Federal Bureau…

The 4th Annual Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration, co-hosted by the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA), the Institute for Energy Law (IEL), and the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), took place on January 12-13, 2017, in Houston, Texas. Under the guidance of conference co-chairs Suzana Blades (ConocoPhillips, Houston),…

Investment obligations and investor-State arbitration provisions normally have been negotiated under bilateral investment treaties (BITs), or, more recently, in the larger context of free trade agreements (FTAs). For investment provisions, the movement from BITs to FTAs recently has taken an additional, significant step: the negotiation of such provisions in the even larger context of mega-regional…

Are international arbitrators biased in favor of the nominating party? The answer is: probably yes! This is in part the result of what some scholars refer to as selection and affiliation effects. Selection effect: Because the parties nominate the arbitrators, they can choose party-appointed arbitrators with the maximum predisposition towards their case. The litigant can…

The line between third-party funders and law firms is blurring. Originally, there were only two traditional types of third-party funding arrangements. In the first type, the third-party funder makes an agreement to finance the legal expenses of the claimant or respondent in a case in exchange for a portion of the claimant’s awarded amount, if…

One of the perceived advantages of arbitration is that it allows parties to select one or more decision makers (arbitrators) with a level of technical or scientific expertise and professional experience higher than that of the average judge. Arbitration has always been welcomed as a fitting alternative to traditional litigation, where the judges tend to…

The Academic Council of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA) is pleased to announce the launch of a new online resource for international arbitration and dispute resolution instructors: International Dispute Resolution Resources for Legal Educators. The Legal Educators Resources site is designed to gather, classify, and disseminate syllabi, notes, exercises, exams, and other original teaching…

More recent generations of investment treaties tend to include explicit provisions requiring claimants in investor-State arbitrations to submit waivers that – depending on the actual terminology used in these waiver provisions – generally seek to bar them from submitting their claims to other forums, such as through litigation before domestic courts or parallel international proceedings….

Gramercy Funds Management LLC, a U.S.-based hedge fund (“Gramercy”), recently filed a notice of arbitration against the Republic of Peru pursuant to the investment chapter of the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (“U.S.-Peru TPA”), seeking USD 1.6 billion in damages. Although Peru announced that it filed an initial response to Gramercy’s notice in early July, the…

“When Justice Delayed Would be Justice Denied: Emergency Arbitrators and Interim Measures in International Arbitration” was the subject of the 28th Annual Workshop of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA), which took place on 16 June 2016 in Dallas, Texas. Under the leadership of ITA’s Chair, Abby Cohen Smutny (White & Case), and the conference…

The mounting global preoccupation with mediation, reflected in a growing array of institutions, programs, laws and regulations; an international “evangelical” movement; and mounting impetus for an international convention promoting the recognition and enforcement of mediated settlement agreements; should be accompanied by collective reflection, dialogue and discernment regarding present trends. These were the themes of my…

On March 30, ITA and ASIL co-hosted their annual meeting in Washington, DC, and this year’s theme was “A Spotlight on Ethics in International Arbitration: Advocates, Arbitrators and Awards.” One of the panels explored the question of where best to house authority for determining the ethical obligations of parties and their attorneys. I moderated the…

This post initiates a series of posts highlighting key cases published in ITA Arbitration Report, a monthly subscription service provided by the ITA Board of Reporters and available for free at KluwerArbitration.com. The three issues published during the 1st Quarter of 2016 contain more than 60 cases from different jurisdictions worldwide. The selection made for…

Historically, there has been no binding uniform code of ethics governing the conduct of counsel appearing before international arbitral tribunals or dictating how issues of counsel conduct are to be resolved in international arbitration. Recently, however, efforts have been made to fill this void by international organizations and arbitral institutions. For example, in 2013, the…

It has become customary for governments and other organisations to issue “Qs and As” to dispel myths about trade agreements. They usually contain categorical statements made to correct the record and reassure the concerned. The following ten “Qs and As” would likely not be issued by the EU Commission, as too many answers to the…

International investment law and investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) are at a historic juncture as the United States and the European Union (EU) have started to address the content and contours of the investment chapter in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in the latest negotiation round that took place in Brussels the last week…

Most arbitration agreements in the international realm require arbitrators to produce a “reasoned” or “fully reasoned” award. However, relatively little has been written on why such awards are necessary and what constitutes a reasoned award in a legal regime that includes elements of both the common and civil law. On one level, the question of…

The 3rd Annual Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration, co-hosted by the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA), the Institute for Energy Law (IEL), and the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), took place on January 14-15, 2016, in Houston, Texas. Under the guidance of conference co-chairs C. Mark Baker (Norton…

A July 2015 decision of the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid (Tribunal Superior de Justicia), the competent court to decide on the setting aside of an award when the seat of the arbitration is Madrid, declared non-arbitrable a controversy between two multinational Spanish operators in the natural gas sector. The dispute arose over the…

Challenges of arbitrators seem to have become increasingly common in international investment arbitral proceedings, yet they also seem to be seldom successful. Challenges and Recusals of Judges and Arbitrators in International Courts and Tribunals, a new edited volume by Chiara Giorgetti, analyses arbitrators and judges’ challenges and addresses some fundamental, related questions: What does the…

The issue of transparency is hardly a new topic in legal scholarship addressing international arbitration. Last year, in an important contribution to this blog, Loukas A. Mistelis broke with the conventional wisdom that investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, is in need of court-like transparency, arguing that extending court-like transparency to arbitration “would not benefit the…

In May this year some seventy-five states and institutions adopted (of which sixty-five signed) the International Energy Charter (IEC) in The Hague ministerial conference to herald a new age of global energy co-operation. The Charter is a political declaration by states and it modernises its predecessor the European Energy Charter (1991) – the foundation of…

Given the existence of thousands of international investment agreements, the international investment law regime has been described as “complex and confusing,” “highly fragmented,” and “characterised by overlaps and incoherence”. Two key developments, however, are contributing to the harmonization of that regime. First, a set of major agreements is being negotiated by many of the world’s…

Third-party funding is a controversial, dynamic, and evolving phenomenon in international arbitration. Proponents and opponents of third-party funding debate whether the practice will make a positive or negative impact on the worldwide system of dispute resolution. Both sides of the debate make predictions regarding the effect of third-party funders through the cases that they finance….

The 27th Annual Workshop of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (“ITA”), which took place on June 17-18 in Dallas, Texas, examined  “Subconscious Influences in International Arbitration”.  The Workshop was organized by co-chairs José Astigarraga of Astigarraga Davis (Miami), Professor Margaret Moses of Loyola University Chicago School of Law (Chicago) and Luke Sobota of Three Crowns…

In connection with the upcoming 2015 ITA Workshop in Dallas on June 17-19, we are now conducting a survey on the experiences of arbitration practitioners with enforceability of arbitral awards. We write to invite your participation. As you may recall, last year we launched the 2014 ITA Survey on the Enforcement of Arbitral Awards, and…

In Mobil Cerro Negro, Ltd., et al v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, a New York federal district court rejected Venezuela’s sovereign immunity challenge and upheld use of an ex parte procedure available under New York law to convert an ICSID award into a U.S. court judgment. The decision highlights the delocalized nature of ICSID awards…

The University of Virginia’s Spring 2014 symposium focused on the topic of international development. One panel focused on the role of international politics in the context of international dispute settlement. With the mandate to examine elements related to both politics and development, I was asked to explore outcomes in investment treaty arbitration (ITA) as a…

Germany’s position on international investment law and investor-State arbitration is attracting increasing attention since the signing of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in September 2014 has been deferred, inter alia, because of opposition from Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy. Is Germany, the country that not only has…

I am grateful for the opportunity to introduce to the readers of this blog my new edited book: Litigating International Investment Disputes – A Practitioner’s Guide. International investment arbitration is increasingly complex and specialized, and this book seeks to guide new and experienced practitioners through the workings and details of international investment arbitration proceedings –…

In 2013, an extensive survey of experienced commercial arbitrators in the U.S. was conducted by the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution with the cooperation of the College of Commercial Arbitrators (CCA), an organization of more than two hundred of the most experienced arbitrators in the U.S. The Survey provides considerable new data on arbitrators’ experiences,…

The following thoughts are written aware of the fact that a blog is personal and informational and not a substitute for an academic article. In this spirit the thoughts expressed here are, while fundamental in many respects, also preliminary and tentative in some others. The quest for more transparency in international (commercial and investment) arbitration…

On November 17, 2014, the tribunal in Alemanni v. Argentine Republic issued its long-anticipated decision on jurisdiction and admissibility. Alemanni is the third in a series of large-scale arbitrations arising out of Argentina’s default on its sovereign debt, and the most recent decision bears some resemblance to the preliminary awards rendered in the other two…

There have been increasing calls over the past few years for an international code of conduct for counsel in international commercial arbitration, and for arbitrators to have more power to control counsel conduct. The growing concern is related to significant changes that have taken place in international arbitration practice. Arbitration is no longer controlled by…

Let’s get this straight: When awarded to persons, including foreign investors, moral damages are compensatory in nature. They are not discretionary. They are not symbolic. They are not exemplary. They are not punitive. Rather, as the commentary to the ILC Draft Articles 36 and 37 on State Responsibility notes, “[c]ompensable personal injury encompasses not only…

The pronouncements of the highest-ranking court are key indicators of a legal system’s stance vis-à-vis arbitration and other private means of dispute resolution. Over the past decade, the Supreme Court of Canada has dealt with arbitration in a number of cases, and it initially did so in a manner that revealed a very supportive attitude….

Procedural orders rarely become the subject of blog posts, much less the impetus for concerted action among states anxious to control the strategic space on which investment treaty arbitrations unfold. However, a series of orders in Detroit International Bridge Company v. Canada generated controversy when the tribunal steadfastly excluded representatives of the United States from…

Transparency is one of the hot topics in international law. With governance functions increasingly shifting from the domestic to the international level, transparency is demanded, as Andrea Bianchi and Anne Peters show in their new seminal study, in order to compensate for the lack of a full-fledged international system of checks and balances. Transparency promises…

This past April, the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) held its prestigious biennial conference in Miami, with more than 1,000 people in attendance. Our research team received unprecedented access to collect demographic information and administer a survey. The results offer an unprecedented window into the “invisible college” of the international commercial and investment arbitration…

In its Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility, a unanimous tribunal in Apotex, Inc. v. United States dismissed a Canadian manufacturer’s claims that the United States judiciary had violated NAFTA by mis-applying a regulatory time period. Most of the reaction to Apotex has focused on the tribunal’s decision that the claimant’s activities in the United States—and…

The value of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) procedures has lately been questioned by a number of countries. The Australian Government’s 2011 Trade Policy Statement – stating that Australia would not agree to ISDS in its treaties – caused much debate and controversy. In part, Australia’s policy was motivated by the Philip Morris claim, instituted in…

The ICSID Convention threshold for arbitrators’ challenges, upholding challenges only if arbitrators exhibit a manifest lack of the qualities required to sit as arbitrators (Art. 57 ICSID Convention), has in the past been criticized as being too strict. Recently, however, few decisions, discussed in this post, seem to show that the ICSID “manifest” threshold is…

The Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA) held its 26th Annual ITA Workshop in Dallas, Texas on June 18-20, 2014. This year’s ITA Workshop, titled “Modern Enforcement of Arbitral Awards: ‘Show Me the Money,’” covered a range of recent developments and strategic considerations relating to the enforcement of arbitral awards. To kick-off this Workshop, the ITA…

Between February and March 2014, the Survey on the Use of Soft Law Instruments in International Arbitration was open for responses here at Kluwer Arbitration Blog. The users were asked to report on their real-live encounters with the following instruments and notions: IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence, IBA Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest,…

For more information about ITAFOR, click here. To subscribe to ITAFOR, click here. The Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA), the Asociación Latinoamericana de Arbitraje (ALARB) and the Comitê Brasileiro de Arbitragem (CBAr), are pleased to announce the launch of a new online forum for the discussion of pertinent legal issues relating to arbitration of Latin…

In the wake of hotly contested domestic and international developments, speakers at the Annual ITA-ASIL Conference in Washington, DC on April 9 gave varied and sometimes conflicting perspectives on the use of mass and class claims in arbitration. Mass Claims in Investment Arbitration – A Favorable View In her keynote speech, Carolyn B. Lamm of…

As part of the 26th Annual ITA Workshop taking place in Dallas on June 18-20 2014, we have prepared a survey on the experiences of arbitration practitioners with enforceability of arbitral awards in the recent past. In some respects, this builds on excellent work done in the 2010 survey of Queen Mary College/PWC, although it…

We are truly grateful to all those persons who have submitted answers to the survey. It will remain open until March 13, 2013. If you haven’t taken the poll yet, please do share your experience. You will contribute to the knowledge-building of the worldwide arbitration community. An analysis of the results will be published in…

A uniform regulation of substantive, procedural or ethical aspects of international commercial disputes through intergovernmental cooperation has proven to be an unachievable goal or hardly a goal at all. Nonetheless, while national laws are widely used as framework for international arbitration, a number of initiatives have emerged aiming at creating intrinsically international rules (soft law…

In recent years, Oxford University Press has devoted considerable effort to enhancing its transnational law list. In doing so, it has added several titles addressing international arbitration and investor-State topics. Among its more recent offerings is Commentaries on Selected Model Investment Treaties (hereinafter “Commentaries”) edited by Dr. Chester Brown. Commentaries is substantial. It comprises 895…

The use of arbitration in large scale disasters – both natural and financial has increased in recent years. Alongside this increase has been the growing use of arbitration to resolve an increasingly wide array of claims in insurance, tort, and emergency public assistance. In the realm of financial claims, arbitration is used widely in the…

Under the direction of the Swiss Arbitration Association (“ASA”), a recent questionnaire asked 82 of the world’s most prestigious arbitral institutions, among other questions, whether they had insurance for professional liability claims. There are very few empirical studies in this area, but the survey indicated that only few institutions made an effort to answer; and…

The objective of this post is to help in-house and outside counsel communicate better with each other when addressing the topic of international commercial arbitration. While both may be (highly) conversant on the topic, the perspectives of each are potentially very divergent and true communication between them may be incomplete and ineffective. My desire here…

The new Recast Brussels I Regulation, which governs the jurisdiction of courts and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in the Member States of the European Union, has taken the strong position that arbitration will continue to be excluded from its coverage. The Recast Regulation will begin to apply to Member States in January 2015,…

One of the most important legal developments in Latin America during the last few decades has been the expansion in the protection of fundamental rights. This has occurred not only with regard to the express recognition of new substantive rights into several national legal systems, but also regarding the creation of procedural remedies geared to…

There has been a historical antipathy of banks towards arbitration. Banks (and other financial institutions) had no incentive or particular advantage to utilize private and quicker dispute resolution methods, such as mediation and arbitration. Well-run banks will normally be in possession of collateral security before money is made available to lenders or other customers and…

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…

Negotiations to establish a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement have been active and ambitious. Following 18 negotiating rounds since 2010, TPP talks now include 12 States, representing nearly 40 percent of global GDP. Scholars have observed that a TPP agreement, given its scale, could provide “staggering” economic benefits as well as a “genuine Asia-Pacific integration track.”…

Because international investment law so often involves the application of treaties, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties plays a key role in structuring its application. Of particular interest for many disputes are the rules of treaty interpretation contained in Articles 31, 32, and 33 of the VCLT. In that context, there are some…

[Written with the assistance of Nina Tandon and Andrew Behrman of Hogan Lovells US LLP] A recent ruling from a U.S. federal district court has highlighted an emerging doctrine in United States courts with respect to a party’s ability to seek provisional remedies from a court in support of international arbitration. The recent ruling, together…

Over the last two decades the world has witnessed a spectacular growth of investor-state dispute resolution by arbitration (i.e. from a few dozen in 1992 shooting up to 514 cases by the end of 2012). But that trend could stall in the foreseeable future with the realization of the users that international arbitration (investor-state arbitration,…

When the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration was approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985, “uniformity of the law of arbitral procedures” was a stated purpose. The uncertainty produced by the disparity among the national laws was one of the drafters’ concerns. The other was the inadequacy of domestic laws to…

“America’s important security alliances across the Pacific need an economic underpinning.”  Ambassador Robert Zoellick, May 1, 2013 To use one of the Obama Administration’s favorite terms, the entry of Japan in April 2013 into the three-year-old Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations later this year is a “game-changer.”  Prior to Japan’s commitment as the 12th TPP partner,…

  Shanghai’s Recent Reaction As a recent development of the ongoing conflicts within the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration (CIETAC), the CIETAC Shanghai Sub-Commission has now officially been renamed Shanghai International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission; it will also use Shanghai International Arbitration Center (“SHIAC”) concurrently as official name. (See official announcement of the…

A brief history Arbitration has been a part of the laws of El Salvador for more than a hundred years. The Constitution of 1983 clearly states in Article 23 that every citizen of the country has the right to terminate his or her civil or commercial matters through arbitration. July 2002 marked a dramatic change…

On this first of April I thought it might be useful and timely to remind blog readers that the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to grant certiorari in BG Group Plc. v. Republic of Argentina. The Supreme Court asked the Solicitor General’s Office for its views on the cert. petition, which suggests that at…

A new study of dispute resolution practices in Fortune 1,000 corporations shows that many large companies are using binding arbitration less often and relying more on mediated negotiation and other approaches aimed at resolving disputes informally, quickly and inexpensively. The 2011 survey of corporate counsel developed by researchers at Cornell University’s Scheinman Institute on Conflict…

As its Council Member I attended the ICC Institute of World Business Law’s 32nd annual meeting on ‘Third-Party Funding in International Arbitration’ held in Paris on 26 November 2012. It was a grand success as it drew many professionals, arbitrators, experts, academic specialists and, above all, representatives from some major third-party funding bodies such as…

By Tai-Heng Cheng* & Lucas Bento** Introduction On October 5th, 2012, a split ICSID tribunal determined that the Republic of Ecuador had breached the US-Ecuador bilateral investment treaty (“BIT”), and awarded damages of US$1.77 billion (US$2.3 billion with interest applied), reportedly the largest award ever to have been issued by an ICSID tribunal. This award…

The addition of the good faith requirement to the 2010 IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration has been criticized in a recent law review article.  In Good Faith, Bad Faith, But Not Losing Faith:  A Commentary on the 2010 IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration, Pedro J….

The English Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Sulamerica CIA Nacional De Seguros SA v Enesa Engenharia SA [2012] EWCA Civ 638, which is discussed in a recent post by Guy Pendell, underscores an important weakness in the international arbitration system’s legal framework. While everyone accepts that the arbitration agreement is the foundation of an…

The situation of a truncated arbitral tribunal may be caused by various factors. It may arise when a three-member tribunal during the course of the arbitral proceedings and before the rendering of the award does not remain the same at some point, meaning that one of the members of the tribunal dies, resigns or fails…

By Martin Hunter and Javier García Olmedo In a previous blog we discussed the concept of plain packaging of tobacco products and the pending investment arbitration claims brought by Philip Morris International (PMI) against Uruguay and Australia. The question raised was whether these anti-tobacco schemes contravene the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights…

The Obama Administration’s only current regional trade negotiations, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), continue slowly toward a possible conclusion in 2013, with 12 rounds of negotiations having been completed as of the end of May 2012. A major element of a re-energized American focus on political, security and economic considerations in Asia, the TPP if it…

I was asked the other day whether I would recommend that the United States not only ratify the U.N. Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea—known as the “Rotterdam Rules”—but also adopt optional chapters 14 and 15 on the jurisdiction of courts and arbitration. Arbitration of maritime disputes…

Investment treaty provisions that allow joint decisions by States Parties to override or control arbitral tribunals’ interpretations of investment treaty standards scarcely appear in international investment agreements. The recently released 2012 United States Model BIT is a rare example. The 2012 version carried over Article 30(3) of the 2004 United States Model BIT, enabling States…

After a review process that lasted three years, expectations ran high for the revised model U.S. bilateral investment treaty (“BIT”), which was released last month. Stakeholders from many parts of society — the U.S. Congress, environmental organizations, labor groups, business groups, trade associations, academia, the public, and investment experts — weighed in during the review…

The concept of good faith has been a subject of perennial controversy since it was derived from the Roman legal equivalent ‘bonas fides’. Juristic views on and the legal conceptualization of the idea of good faith may often vary across the cultural divides and legal traditions. At a higher level of abstraction there may be…

The Rules, Practice, and Jurisprudence of International Courts and Tribunals (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2012) has just shipped. I am the (proud) editor and a contributor of the book and am delighted to have the opportunity to bring it to the attention of this group. I think it will be of special interest to arbitration practitioners….

The Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law is next week (March 28 – 31) at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, DC. (register here.) I have the honor to co-chair the meeting with Cymie Payne and Harlan Cohen and, together with a wonderful Program Committee, we put together a great program centered around…

In February 2010, Philip Morris International (PMI) filed a request for arbitration under the ICSID Convention against the Republic of Uruguay. The claim relates to two pieces of legislation enacted by Uruguay which require tobacco companies to comply with strict plain packaging measures. These regulations limit the use of registered tobacco trademarks, allowing the brand…

On December 14, the Second Circuit rendered its decision in Figueiredo Ferraz e Engenharia de Projecto Ltda. v. Republic of Peru, 2001 WL 6188497 (2d Cir. Dec. 14, 2011), which represents a significant development in the court’s jurisprudence on forum non conveniens dismissals of actions to enforce foreign arbitral awards. As explained below, the decision…

It is not unusual for retired judges to serve as arbitrators. But what about sitting judges? A number of European countries permit sitting judges to serve as arbitrators. See Gary B. Born, International Commercial Arbitration 1449 (2009); see, e.g., U.K. Arbitration Act 1996, § 93. In the United States, however, ethics rules generally prohibit judges…

Two things are currently unfolding in Africa: significant economic progress and profound political transformation. On the economic front, in the last decade, Africa has been one of the fastest growing continents in the world. Indeed, according to the International Monetary Fund, in the next five years, Africa is expected to be the fastest growing continent,…

One purpose for anti-suit injunctions is to stop parallel proceedings, that is, to stop parties from pursuing litigation or arbitration involving the same parties and the same claims in two different jurisdictions simultaneously. To stop parallel proceedings in arbitration, a party will go to the court at the seat of the arbitration and will ask…

My previous post described years of apparently intractable debate between two opposing camps of international lawyers about what kinds of economic activity should get international investment protections. This post will explain how that dispute was settled for the purpose of ICSID jurisdiction, and with what legal result. As the dispute ground on throughout the final…

My last post described the ongoing controversy about the proper scope of “investment” under Article 25 of the ICSID Convention. The next two posts will draw on my recent article to argue that this controversy should be resolved consistently with the historical understanding of the term. Far from incorporating the limitations exemplified by the Salini…

Article 25 of the ICSID Convention famously limits ICSID jurisdiction to “legal dispute[s] arising directly out of or in relation to an investment.” Uncertainty about the outer limits of this provision erupted into controversy about a decade ago, when Salini Costruttori v. Morocco kicked off a series of cases that imposed sharp limits on the…

In keeping with the popular saying that ‘a bad settlement is better than a good lawsuit,’ it is not unusual for parties in an arbitration to suspend the proceedings and explore a settlement. Any arbitrator will understand such a move and assume that the parties know best what works for them to achieve a satisfying…

Empirical research shows that modern law students, at least at post-graduate level, wish to have some options to learn something about the skills of ‘lawyering’. Students often say that they want to have more than just the letters ‘LLM’ after their names. They pay substantial tuition fees to obtain these post-graduate degrees, and they wish…

The seventh round of TPP negotiations will take place in Vietnam the week of June 20 but caution on the part of U.S. negotiators makes it highly unlikely that after fifteen months of ongoing negotiations any of the major issues will be resolved or even fully opened to discussion. In particular, the United States Trade…

In The Invisible Gorilla, Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons explore a classic experiment that won them an Ig Nobel Prize (2004). Their research considers how our own perceptions and memories can fool us into thinking something is true (when it is false) or lead us to miss things that are far more profound. This research…

This blog post ventures preliminary views on current critiques about ICSID annulments, and sketches out a few ideas that may merit further exploration. Some recent annulment decisions questioned ICSID awards but did not annul them because the high standard for annulment was not met. There are states and investors who now worry that should they…

Anyone considering Canada as the seat of an arbitration or as one among several jurisdictions where recognition and enforcement proceedings could be commenced should pay close attention to the Supreme Court of Canada’s March 18 decision in Seidel v. TELUS Communications Inc., 2011 SCC 15, which appears to mark a philosophical shift in Canadian arbitration…

On March 23, in Washington, DC, the Institute for Transnational Arbitration and the American Society of International Law will co-host a conference on “Fault Lines in International Commercial Arbitration.” Building on the American Law Institute’s draft Restatement of the U.S. Law on International Commercial Arbitration, Gary Born, Jan Paulsson, J. William Rowley, QC, Linda Silberman,…

During the last quarter of 2010 the German Arbitration Institution (‘DIS’) and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (‘CIAarb’) held a conference in Frankfurt to debate the relative merits of the ways in which civil law/common law court procedures are adopted or adapted for use in international arbitrations. One of the more interesting sessions was devoted…

Stolt-Nielsen v. Animal Feeds, 130 S. Ct. 1758 (2010), is an extraordinary case. In Stolt-Nielsen, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the award of a distinguished arbitral tribunal essentially because the tribunal did not reach the result favored by the Supreme Court. In Stolt-Nielsen, charterers were arbitrating against shipping companies, alleging violations of antitrust law. The…

Numbers often speak better than words: international arbitration is nowadays a well-established mechanism for the settlement of commercial disputes; according to published institutional statistics the number of cases in 2009 is three times the number of cases in 1992. According to the 2010 Survey (www.arbitrationonline.org) of the School of International Arbitration sponsored by White and…

In a recent contribution to this list serve Alexis Mourre vigorously defended the parties’ right to appoint their own arbitrator. The appointment of an arbitrator is probably one of the single most important decisions during an arbitration. In so far it is not surprising that the right to appoint ones own arbitrator is regularly mentioned…

The sense of relief enjoyed by NGO observers and other followers that UNCITRAL Working Group II’s Arbitration Rules revision project was finally completed in the Summer of 2010, after seemingly endless debate, has been diminished to some extent by the publication of the agenda for the next WGII meeting, to be held in Vienna in…

The discussion on the position of arbitration in the Brussels Jurisdiction and Enforcement Regulation (Regulation 44/ 2001) has now reached the Committee on Legal Affairs of the European Parliament. Just to remind those less familiar with the issue: the present Regulation, as well as the preceding Jurisdiction Convention, allowed courts in EU countries to assume…

By the end of the second round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in San Francisco June 14-18 some observers were concerned that the lack of inter-agency consensus on the protection of foreign investment risks slowing the negotiation of investment issues in the TPP context. If there is no internal U.S. agreement by the…

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…

In the last month, two professors mused to one of the authors that “international investment arbitration is undertheorized”. One of the professors is a serious scholar of international law. The other professor was a former clerk at The Hague and writes about international investment arbitration. Their comment got us thinking: Is international investment arbitration undertheorized?…

Several years ago, three United States Courts of Appeal contemporaneously dismissed actions to enforce foreign arbitral awards for lack of personal jurisdiction, a development that provoked expressions of concern from the arbitration bar. Adding to their dread, the United States Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit dismissed an enforcement action on forum non conveniens…

I am in Australia in advance of the investment law conference at Sydney Law School at the end of the week, and I took advantage of many plane hours to read the docket in the case pending between Ecuador and Chevron/Texaco Petroleum Company (TexPet) in the Southern District of New York. They repay study. In…

When mapping the present trajectory of investment treaties, common themes include the “rebalancing” or “recalibration” of substantive disciplines, concepts that signal a retreat from the high-water mark of investor protection and a reorientation towards the preservation of regulatory space for host states. Generally, this phenomenon takes two forms: preparation of new model treaties (the prospective…

While litigation and arbitration both entail binding adjudication, the traditional functions of judges and arbitrators diverge in fundamental respects. While judges resolve individual disputes, they also serve a number of secondary functions. For example, in the process of deciding cases, they also supply guidance to parties in future disputes, uphold the public interest, and contribute…

One can observe two rather opposing trends. On the one hand there is a steady (and more recently significant) increase in the number of arbitration cases; one the other hand there is a rather systematic criticism expressed by certain voices, predominately in the corporate world.Most well established institutions have recorded a 10% increase in their…

How should tribunals apply investment treaties to measures adopted during times of crisis? Recognizing crisis as the point at which foreign investors become most vulnerable (and therefore require the most protection), should tribunals guard against any temptation to dilute the rigor of external discipline? Conversely, recognizing crisis as the point at which states can lay…