Introduction Unilateral option clauses (also known as “asymmetric” or “one-sided” clauses) are clauses which give both parties the right to refer disputes to a particular dispute resolution forum, but which simultaneously give one party an exclusive right to elect to refer a particular dispute to another forum. The classic example of a one-sided clause is…

The year of the pig was off to a good start in Hong Kong at the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) Reform Conference organised by the Hong Kong Department of Justice and the Asian Academy of International Law on 13 February 2019. Like the fabled pig, ISDS reform has been slow in coming, and the aim…

ICC’s updated guidance to parties On 20 December 2018 the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) published an updated Note to Parties and Arbitral Tribunals on the Conduct of the Arbitration under the ICC Rules of Arbitration (Note). The Note, which came into effect from 1 January 2019, introduces a…

Overview On 1 January 2019 the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association (the “JCAA“) amended its two current sets of arbitration rules. At the same time, it introduced an additional set of new rules with the aim of providing a more efficient and cheaper arbitration procedure that draws on some civil law-type approaches. The JCAA’s motivation for…

In December 2017 South Africa brought into law its first piece of legislation dedicated to international arbitration, the aptly named International Arbitration Act of 2017 (the New Act).   The New Act The New Act incorporates the provisions of the UNCITRAL Model Law and further aligns the country’s national law with the New York Convention….

Confidentiality is frequently promoted as a key advantage of international arbitration.  It preserves the information exchanged in the arbitration proceedings and prevents the parties from disclosing information relating to the arbitration.  The extent of confidentiality afforded to the parties varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  In certain jurisdictions, the law does not recognise the concept of…

The advent of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force on 25 May 2018 within the EU and the European Economic Area, has sparked a renewed debate within the arbitration community about importance of adequate consideration being given to the collection, preservation and protection of data in arbitral proceedings. The GDPR…

Brazil has been notoriously reluctant to enter into treaties with other States that provide for the protection of investors and investments, viewing them as detrimental to the host State and its national investors. Brazil has no bilateral investment treaties in force, a limited number of its own treaties, named Cooperation and Facilitation Investment Agreements (CFIAs),…

A focus on the AIFC Arbitration and Mediation Rules 2018 and improvement to enforcement of arbitral awards in Kazakhstan Introduction to the AIFC The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) is a financial hub in Kazakhstan that came into operation this year. The purpose of the AIFC is to establish itself as a key centre for…

[I]t is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done. If you sought to distil [the connection between ISDS’s transparency and legitimacy] to a single point, it would be that transparency is a necessary condition of…

Blockchain and its potential applications are well-documented by technologists and early-adopters. Over the last 12 months, however, this technology has started to take centre stage in more mainstream industry discussions. With the price of Bitcoin spiking early this year (following which the cryptocurrency lost over 50% of its value), blockchain has become big news and…

The new arbitration rules of the German Institution of Arbitration (Deutsche Institution für Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit – “DIS”) will enter into force on 1 March 2018 (“DIS Rules 2018”). It is the first revision of the DIS Rules since the current version was adopted in 1998 (“DIS Rules 1998”). The revision process involved nearly 300 persons sitting…

INTRODUCTION   Germany is considered as one of the most arbitration friendly jurisdictions in Europe if not world-wide, not least because the 1998 arbitration law is almost a verbatim translation of the UNCITRAL Model law. This arbitration-friendliness always encompassed also corporate disputes, safe for one minor, but important exception: arbitrations concerning the validity of shareholder…

The recent English Commercial Court case of Oldham v QBE Insurance (Europe) Ltd [2017] EWHC 3045 (Comm) (“Oldham v QBE”) serves as a reminder to tribunals that all parties must be given the opportunity of putting their case on costs and responding to the case put to them. In Oldham v QBE, the Commercial Court…

The lack of consensus on ethical standards of conduct for counsel in international arbitration has given rise to two enduring problems. First, lawyers may find it hard to know how they should act where the professional rules of their home jurisdiction differ from, or conflict with, those at the seat of arbitration. Second, parties themselves…

In June 2017, the Fourth European Anti-Money Laundering Directive (the “Fourth EU Directive” (EU) 2015/849) was transposed into German law. The regime was further tightened, its scope was extended and new features, such as the transparency register, were introduced. With the fifth European Anti-Money Laundering Directive already on the horizon, more changes are to come….

The international economic order is today bound together through a network of bilateral (and multilateral) investment treaties which provide investors with a variety of protections. Such Bilateral investment treaties (“BITs”) are a relatively young species dating back to 1959’s Pakistan-Federal Republic of Germany BIT. While the exact content of BITs varies by agreement, most contain…

Singapore and Hong Kong are now considered to be amongst the top arbitration seats in the world, rivalling the long-established seats of London, Paris and Geneva. Perpetuating their dominance in the region, parties to contracts in the Asia-Pacific often choose either of these seats by default with no consideration of alternatives. This is underpinned, to…

The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan (President) signed the constitutional law “On the Astana International Financial Centre” (Law) on 7 December 2015, which provides a legal framework for the establishment and operation of the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC). The launch of the AIFC is part of the President’s “100 Concrete Steps” Plan of…

The English High Court has reinforced its pro-arbitration stance in two recent judgments in the case of P v Q [2017] EWHC 148 (Comm.) and [2017] EWHC 194 (Comm.). Much attention has been devoted to the failed application under section 24 of the English Arbitration Act 1996 (the “Act”) to remove the arbitral tribunal on…

Introduction Western Australia has many of the hallmarks of an arbitral hub: from a stable liberal democracy, a reliable and predictable judiciary, and very low rates of corruption, to offices of numerous national and international law firms, world-standard business hotels (albeit only a recent arrival), and an efficient international airport (again, only of late, but…

Text books will tell you that, in its origins, the concept of arbitration as a method of resolving disputes was a simple one: two merchants, arguing over damaged merchandise, would settle their dispute by accepting the decision of a fellow merchant. And they would do so not because of any legal mandate, but because it…

Arbitration is an increasingly popular form of dispute resolution in the field of construction, particularly for international projects where parties are of different nationalities, and where at least one party is unlikely to be operating on home soil. However, a commonly cited disadvantage of arbitration as opposed to court litigation is that there may not…

The situation that the Bundesgerichtshof was recently faced with in a case is not uncommon: whilst a state court still reviews an arbitral tribunal’s preliminary ruling on its competence, the arbitral tribunal delivers its final award on the merits. This raises one question: What are the implications for the pending challenge to jurisdiction? In previous…

As Professor Luke Nottage and Dr. Jarrod Hepburn have observed in a forthcoming case note, the most recent ruling in the long-running case of Philip Morris Asia v Australia has highlighted the consequences of agreeing to arbitrate in jurisdictions which do not permit appeals in respect of negative jurisdictional rulings. The case – an investor-state…

In William Lim and Another v. Hung Ka Hai Clement and Others [2016] HKCFI 1439; HCA 1282/2016 (24 August 2016), the Hong Kong Court of First Instance ordered a stay of court proceedings and referred an ongoing dispute to arbitration pursuant to s 20 (1) of the Arbitration Ordinance (Cap 609). The Court found that…

A new development in the third party funding arena prompts an increased analysis of the theoretical foundations of the nature of third party funding. At the moment, there are divergent views on its proper place and treatment, and with increased prevalence a piecemeal approach with little theoretical groundwork risks creating a minefield resulting in unpredictability…

Heading The July 2016 Award of the Tribunal in the South China Sea Arbitration (The Republic of the Philippines v The Peoples’ Republic of China) has been the subject of extensive interest and comment for its findings on rights and maritime entitlements, and the obligations of States under the United Nations Convention on the Law…

London has long been a city associated with international arbitration. In 2015, even with the UK referendum on EU membership looming, according to analysis by theCity UK, London was the seat or centre of 4,738 international commercial arbitrations, mediations and adjudications in 2015. These were conducted under the auspices of numerous institutions, with the long-established…

Claudia Pechstein, 44, is a well-known speed skater – she has won 60 medals at international championships and at the Olympics since 1992. However, the media coverage on her seven year juridical battle against a two year suspension imposed on her for a disputed doping rules violation has put her into the spotlight even more…

The Asian economy is considered an engine of global economic growth, accounting for almost two-thirds of forecasted global economic growth for 2016. Over the last decade, the flows of foreign investment into and out of Asia have consistently increased with Asia now taking a lion’s share of total foreign direct investment into developing countries. A…

On 26 June 2015 Italy commenced inter-state arbitral proceedings by serving on India a notification of dispute under Article 287 and Annex VII, Article 1 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (“UNCLOS”); both States are Parties to UNCLOS. In Italy’s submission the dispute concerns an incident approximately 20.5 nautical miles…

No less than two years ago, in a series of related judgments (the NML Ltd et al. v the Republic of Argentina saga), the French Court of cassation gave greater protection to state immunity from execution. A new turning point in the French approach towards this matter has been reached with the decision of the…

In October 2015, during an official visit to the United States, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, announced that Indonesia intended to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Jokowi’s plan immediately ran into political opposition at home, including from within the ranks of his own Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). The Government, however, appears determined to follow…

In a highly unusual arbitral decision, the Cour Commune de Justice et d’Arbitrage (CCJA), the court created by the Organisation pour l’Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires (the Organisation for the Harmonisation of Commercial Law in Africa) (OHADA) Treaty, signed by 17 African States, has ruled that an award should be set aside on…

Drafted by HSF Partner, Mathias Wittinghofer, and Associates, Tilmann Hertel and Nils Kupka, from HSF’s Frankfurt office In 1999 Germany adopted the UNCITRAL Model law on International Commercial Arbitration (“ML”), but with a material addition: German law stipulates that prior to the constitution of the arbitral tribunal an application can be made to a German…

On 19 October 2015, the Hong Kong Law Reform Commission published a Consultation Paper recommending that third party funding should be permitted for arbitrations in Hong Kong. The Paper invites public comment on the recommendation, and how third party funding should be adopted in Hong Kong. A link to the paper can be found here….

There appears to be a gradual shift in international arbitration, towards an assumption that parties to an arbitration agreement who are seeking interim relief will look first to the tribunal, rather than to the national courts.  This is seen in recent iterations of the institutional rules, such as the 2012 ICC Rules, the 2014 LCIA…

At the CIARB’s London centenary conference earlier this month, the Honourable Chief Justice of Singapore, Sundaresh Menon, cautioned that: “we should remain mindful that there is no place for complacency or reason to assume that [the] international system of dispute resolution which so many have invested so much in, will continue on its recent trajectory…

Two months ago I commenced a five-month secondment with the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), a change of scene from my usual post at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP in London where I am a New York-qualified associate working on both commercial and investment arbitration matters. While in many ways the secondment has so far…

Keeping abreast of Australia’s stance on ISDS can be a confusing exercise. Australia’s approach to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) continues to be hotly debated in the wake of recent revelations by Wikileaks that the investment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is likely to include ISDS provisions. The Australian government’s stance on ISDS has undergone…

and Brenda Horrigan and Rebecca Soquier, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, Shanghai The sanctions arising out of the Ukrainian crisis have led commercial entities to consider their options for resolving current or potential disputes. In this post, we consider the impact of the sanctions against Russia on the future of dispute resolution for Russian entities and…

The nation states of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have long been active participants in the world of international investment protection and arbitration. Pakistan was a signatory to one of the first ever Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) and of the estimated 2,750 BITs that exist today, 622 (approximately 22%) are with a MENA state;…

An often cited advantage of arbitration, as opposed to litigation, is the finality of the process. The grounds for time-consuming and costly challenges and appeals are limited. Under the English 1996 Arbitration Act (the “Act”), parties can only challenge or appeal an arbitration award on three grounds: (i) a challenge on the grounds that the…

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…

Dispute resolution provisions in banking and finance transaction documents in the UAE sometimes include a unilateral option provision which, where a dispute arises, purports to reserve to the contracting bank, investment fund or lender, the right to choose arbitration or litigation, or sometimes litigation in a different forum to the local courts. The rationale for…

In article 35 of the Brazilian Arbitration Law (“BAA”) it states that, in order to be enforced in Brazil, a foreign arbitral award (i.e., an award issued outside Brazil’s territory) must be recognized by the judiciary. This judicial recognition rests with the Superior Tribunal of Justice (Superior Tribunal de Justiça – “STJ”), which retains exclusive…

This article is published as a result of the cooperation agreement between  Kluwer Arbitration Blog and ArbitralWomen.  The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and should not be regarded as representative of, or binding upon ArbitralWomen and/or the author’s law firm. In 2010 Australia amended its International Arbitration Act (Cth) 1974 (IAA)…

At the opening of the legal year in Singapore on 5 January 2015, the Singapore International Commercial Court (“SICC“) was officially launched. In the words of Chief Justice Menon, the SICC is intended to “build upon and complement the success of [Singapore’s] vibrant arbitration sector and make [Singapore’s] judicial institutions and legal profession available to…

The Singapore International Mediation Centre (“SIMC”) was officially launched on 5 November 2014. Set up following the recommendations of a Working Group chaired by Edwin Glasgow CBE QC and George Lim SC, the SIMC will supplement the array of international dispute resolution options available in Singapore. Of particular note is the establishment of a new…

The US District Court for the District of Vermont, part of the Second Circuit that also embraces New York and Connecticut, recently compelled a Canadian businessman (Mr. Kastner) to arbitrate his patent dispute against a Swedish footwear company’s US subsidiary called Icebug USA (“Icebug”), even though Icebug was not a signatory to the arbitration agreement…

As has been discussed previously on this blog, the recast Brussels Regulation contains a number of important clarifications to the arbitration exception. Paragraph 3 of Recital 12 and Article 73(2) make it clear that the recast Regulation shall not affect the application of the New York Convention (the “Convention”). The recast Regulation should allow a…

Whilst many institutional rules now contain provisions which expressly address the complex issue of consolidation, the recently revised rules of the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (the “ICDR”), the international arm of the American Arbitration Association (the “AAA”), are the first to have introduced the novel concept of the “consolidation arbitrator”. Under the ICDR Rules,…

Introduction On 13 March 2014, Thailand’s Central Administrative Court annulled an arbitration award in the case between Hong Kong-based Hopewell Holding and the Thai Ministry of Transport (“MoT”) and State Railway of Thailand (“SRT”). The dispute arose out of a 30-year concession dating back to 1990 to build a 60-km elevated highway and rail line…

On 29 April 2014, the French Cour de cassation made a decision on the criteria a multi-tiered dispute resolution clause (“multi-tiered clause”) should meet to render claims inadmissible if disregarded. In this case, Medissimo, a pharmaceutical company, entered into a contract with Logica, an IT company, to outsource the maintenance of a software program and…

The debate regarding the extent to which most favoured nation (‘MFN’) clauses in bilateral investment treaties (‘BITs’) can expand the scope of application of such treaties is a well-established and evolving dialogue in investment treaty jurisprudence. However, while the issues around the extension of substantive and procedural protections in BITs have received considerable attention, the…

In further nod to the non-interventionist and pro-arbitration stance of the Singapore courts, the Singapore Court of Appeal in BLC and ors v. BLB and anor [2014] SGCA 40 (“the BLC decision“) reversed the decision of the High Court to set aside part of an arbitration award (“Award“) on the ground of a breach of…

By Justin D’Agostino and Timothy Hughes, Herbert Smith Freehills The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (“HKIAC“) has amended its Model Clauses in order to include an optional provision that specifies the parties’ choice of law to apply to an arbitration clause. The express designation of a particular law to govern an arbitration clause does not…

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…

Armada (Singapore) Pte Ltd (Under Judicial Management) v Gujarat NRE Coke Limited [2014] FCA 636 Justice Foster of the Federal Court of Australia handed down judgment on 17 June 2014 in an application for the enforcement of three foreign arbitral awards. The key issue for determination before the court was whether the applicant, Armada (Singapore)…

In two recent decisions, Banyan Tree v. Meydan Group LLC (Case No. ARB 003-2013) and X1 and X2 v. Y1 and Y2 (Case No. ARB 002-2013), the DIFC Court of First Instance (H.E. Justice Omar Al Muhairi and Sir John Chadwick respectively) confirmed its jurisdiction to recognise and enforce within the DIFC arbitral awards rendered…

In Honeywell v Meydan Group LLC ([2014] EWHC 1344 (TCC)) the High Court in London upheld a DIAC award against the owner of the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, rejecting allegations that the underlying contract was procured through bribery. The decision is just one of a number of claims arising out of the construction of the…

By Justin D’Agostino, Jessica Booth and Tracy Wu, Herbert Smith Freehills Ever since the internal fight between CIETAC (Beijing) and its Shanghai and Shenzhen sub-commissions became public in May 2012, the internal jurisdictional dispute between Beijing and the two sub-commissions has loomed large, resulting in the latter two declaring independence, re-naming themselves and introducing new…

Authors: Geoff Hansen, Partner and Jennifer Galatas, Senior Associate 1. Introduction – APRAG and Beyond On 27 to 28 March 2014, international dispute experts converged on Melbourne, Australia to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Asia-Pacific Regional Arbitration Group (APRAG) Conference. APRAG is a regional federation of arbitration associations comprised of more than 30 members….

By Peter Godwin, Elaine Wong and James Allsop, Hebert Smith Freehills The Japan Commercial Arbitration Association (“JCAA”) has introduced an amended version of its Commercial Arbitration Rules (the “New Rules”). The New Rules, which contain comprehensive amendments, came into force on 1 February 2014 and will apply to all arbitrations initiated on or after that…

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…

By Justin D’Agostino and Sean Izor In the past, arbitration laws and arbitral institutions in Asia have often been seen as less well developed when compared to their Western counterparts. However, just as Asia’s economies have grown at a rapid pace, catching up to (or surpassing) those of Europe and the United States, so has…

The December 2013 decision of the English Commercial Court (the Court) in Habas Sinai Ve Tibbi Gazlar Istihsal Andustrisi AS and VSC Steel Company Ltd [2013] EWHC 4071 (Comm) (Habas) summarised the guidance provided in Sulamérica Cia Nacional De Seguros S.A. and others v Enesa Engenharia S.A [2012] EWCA Civ 638 (Sulamérica) and Arsanovia Ltd…

Allegations of fraud and corruption are increasingly encountered in international arbitrations but there is at times a perception that international arbitration, which is by nature a private and consensual dispute resolution mechanism, is ill-equipped to handle the challenges thrown up by such allegations. This is particularly so when looking at arbitral procedure. Is this perception…

London-based think-tank Chatham House is predicting an increase in the number of arbitrations between governments and companies in the extractive industries. Commercial stakes being particularly high in this sector, companies generally seek to resolve disputes with a host state through negotiation, viewing arbitration as the method of last resort. Yet Chatham House believes that there…

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…

In a recent decision in the long-running Astro v. Lippo dispute, the Singapore Court of Appeal (the “Court“) grappled with the question of whether an unsuccessful party to an international arbitration award rendered in Singapore (a “domestic international award“) can choose to wait and invoke a passive remedy only in response to enforcement proceedings at…

The Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia (the Court) recently upheld a decision enforcing an arbitral award made by three London arbitrators (Gujarat NRE Coke Limited v. Coeclerici Asia (Pte) Ltd [2013] FCAFC 109). The Court dismissed the appeal confirming that the arbitrators did not deny the appellants procedural fairness and did not…

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…

Contracting with States or State-controlled/assimilated entities is, and has always been, tricky, especially when a dispute arises between the (private) party or investor and the State or State-controlled/assimilated entity. An increasingly common problem is the attempt by the State to raise sovereign immunity from execution/enforcement to avoid enforcement of an arbitral award (and or judgment)…

On 11 July 2013, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (“UNCITRAL”) adopted new Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (the “Transparency Rules”), which will come into effect from 1 April 2014. The new rules provide for public access to documents generated during treaty-based investor-state arbitrations (but not commercial arbitrations) brought under the…

In a judgment dated 10 May 2013 (Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland GmbH v. Genentech, Inc., Appeal No 2012-1454) the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (the ‘CAFC’) affirmed a first-instance decision refusing the grant of an injunction preventing Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland GmbH (‘Sanofi’) from continuing to participate in an ICC arbitration where issues of infringement…

The recent Rompetrol Group NV v Romania award provides rare guidance as to the requirements to be satisfied for a successful treaty claim arising from State conduct against individual company officers rather than the claimant investor itself. The investor claimed, inter alia, that the arrest, detention, criminal investigations and wire-tapping of its directors constituted State-sponsored…

An important issue for any business engaged in international transactions is the ability to obtain effective relief if it becomes involved in legal proceedings. A key benefit of international arbitration is the ability of successful parties to enforce awards across multiple jurisdictions, which is made easier because of the 1958 New York Convention on the…

by Justin D’Agostino and Briana Young On 28 March 2013, Hong Kong gazetted The Arbitration (Amendment) Bill 2013. The Bill proposes amendments to Hong Kong’s Arbitration Ordinance (Cap. 609) to implement an arrangement for mutual enforcement of awards between Hong Kong and Macao, allow for enforcement of emergency arbitrator decisions in Hong Kong, and provide…

In the case of HKL Group Co Ltd v Rizq International Holdings Pte Ltd the Singapore High Court (the “High Court”) has considered whether an arbitration clause in a contract which provided for disputes to be settled by arbitration in Singapore by a non-existent institution under the rules of the ICC was inoperable. The High…

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…

If the answer is London, Paris, Geneva, New York, Tokyo and Singapore, what is the question? International cities? Fashion hot spots? Location of Manchester United supporters’ clubs? It may well be the answer to all three questions (although I confess that I have not actually checked the Manchester United one), but they are also the…

By Claudia Ludwig and Jennifer Hartzler Whenever a hearing in an arbitration is on the horizon, the question of how far you can go in preparing your witnesses arises. Apart from particularly litigious clients, most clients will not have appeared as a witness in an arbitration or any other proceedings before. They are therefore regularly…

In the recent decision of PT Pukuafu Indah and others v. Newmont Indonesia Ltd and another ([2012] SGHC 187) the Singapore High Court (the Court) confirmed that it did not have jurisdiction to set aside an interim anti-suit injunction ordered by an arbitral tribunal. In reaching this decision, the Court added to a growing body…

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….

In June 2010 the Court of Appeal’s decision in Jivraj v Hashwani caused dismay in the arbitration community. Does an arbitration agreement which provides criteria for the appointment of arbitrators risk falling foul of the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 (the “Regulations”) or other UK anti-discrimination law? The Supreme Court judgment of 27…

For those of us in the arbitration world, the closing ceremony which took place on 12 August 2012 not only marked the end of the London Olympic Games. It also signalled the conclusion of the jurisdiction of the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (‘CAS’) Ad hoc division (the ‘CAS AHD’) (as it will not be…

On 17 July 2012, the Privy Council (UKPC 27) passed a landmark judgment of relevance for creditors of States seeking to enforce against the assets of State-owned corporations. The Privy Council held that only in ‘quite extreme circumstances’ would a State-owned corporation (a separate juridical entity formed by the State for commercial or industrial purposes)…

One of the oft quoted advantages of arbitration is the perceived certainty that the national courts of New York Convention states should enforce an arbitral award unless one of the limited grounds for refusal is met. However, the relationship between national courts and arbitration is far from straightforward. In particular, one notable area where there…

In a judgment dated 25 April 2012 (Lombard North Central plc and another v GATX Corporation [2012] EWHC 1067 (Comm)), Judge Andrew Smith of the English High Court (Commercial Court) underlined the potential risks that might arise from arbitration clauses which have a limited scope. Although this judgment is relevant to a number of different…

In the most recent of a long-running series of decisions in the West Tankers saga, the English court has found that the majority of the tribunal was wrong to decline jurisdiction to award equitable damages or to declare a party liable to indemnify the other as a result of the breach of an arbitration clause….

The China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (“CIETAC“) has recently published its revised Arbitration Rules, which will come into force on 1 May 2012 (the “2012 Rules“). This is the seventh revision of the CIETAC Rules since they were first published in 1956. Whilst the majority of the changes in the 2012 Rules are…

Following its June 2011 decision in the case of STMicroelectronics, NV v. Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, 648 F.3d 68 (2d Cir. 2011), the Second Circuit has again considered the issue of vacating an award due to an arbitrator’s non-disclosure. Earlier this month, the Second Circuit handed down judgment in the case of Scandinavian Reinsurance…

The HKIAC has launched a consultation process to consider modifications to its Administered Arbitration Rules, which came into force on 1 September 2008 (the “Rules”). Users of the Rules have been invited to comment on proposed amendments outlined in a HKIAC consultation paper dated 15 December 2011. A copy of the consultation paper can be…

The judgment in the case of Mary Harvey v. Motor Insurer’s Bureau (QBD (Merc) (Manchester), Claim No: 0MA40077, 21 December 2011) just before Christmas provided another opportunity for the English courts to rule on their ability to consider appeals on a point of law. This controversial power, retained in the UK’s Arbitration Act notwithstanding its…

Last month’s judgment of the Hong Kong Court of Appeal (“CA“) in Gao Haiyan and Xie Heping v. Keeneye Holdings and another CACV 79/2011, is the latest in a long line of cases demonstrating the pro-enforcement approach of the Hong Kong courts. The decision makes clear that it is not the place of the Hong…

2011 has delivered some significant arbitration developments in Hong Kong, most of which (with some exceptions!) have been undoubtedly positive. So, what were the highlights of the Hong Kong arbitration year – and what challenges might lie ahead? First, Hong Kong’s new Arbitration Ordinance (cap. 609) came into effect on 1 June 2011 (blogged here)….

In an emergency, swift and effective action is required. Yet in international arbitration proceedings, it can take weeks or months to constitute an arbitral tribunal. What options, then, are open to a party in need of urgent interim relief before an arbitral tribunal has been formed? In many circumstances, applying to the national courts of…

As we approach the first anniversary of the UK Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the case of Dallah Estate and Tourism Holding Company v The Ministry of Religious Affairs, Government of Pakistan, it is only fitting that we would encounter a case which would cause us to revisit the issue of the proper standard of…

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…

Almost every country of the world has seen an enormous increase in the involvement of the State in economic activity over the past century. This trend is particularly pronounced in those economies, China foremost among them, in which the State takes an active role in commercial life. But can State owned entities and other private…

The Supreme Court has arrived at what almost all arbitration practitioners and clients will view as the right result in the strange episode of Jivraj v Hashwani. The Supreme Court has unanimously allowed the appeal on the basis that an arbitrator is not an employee of the parties for the purposes of the Employment Equality…

The scope of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clauses in bilateral investment treaties (BITs) has been a source of rich debate for many years. In sum, the debate centres around whether MFN “treatment” includes only substantive rules for the protection of investments, or if it also extends to procedural protections such as dispute resolution. There have…

The Court of Appeal of England and Wales ruled last month that where parties have entered into an arbitration agreement, one party can obtain an anti-suit injunction to prevent the other party from initiating proceedings in a foreign court, even where no arbitration is underway or indeed even contemplated. In AES Ust-Kamenogorsk Hydropower Plant LLP…

In a landmark provisional judgment in Democratic Republic of the Congo v. FG Hemisphere Associates FACV Nos. 5, 6 & 7 of 2010, the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (CFA) has held by a majority of 3:2 that absolute sovereign immunity applies in Hong Kong, with no exception for purely commercial transactions or assets….

The new Hong Kong Arbitration Ordinance (Cap. 609) (the “Ordinance”) comes into effect today, having been approved by the Hong Kong Legislative Council at the end of last year. The Ordinance represents the culmination of many years of discussion and consultation and marks a significant milestone in the development of Hong Kong as a world-class…

In the recent investment treaty case Alps Finance Trade AG v Slovak Republic, an UNCITRAL tribunal had to consider whether Alps had satisfied the obligation contained in Article 9 of the Switzerland-Slovakia BIT which requires that “consultations will take place” and that they “do not result in a solution within six months” before the matter…

On 27 April 2011, the US Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision (AT&T Mobility LLC v Concepcion (563 US ____ (2011) 17)), concluded that due to the principle of finality, arbitration would be “poorly suited” to cases where the stakes are particularly high (class actions in the instant case). The US Supreme Court added: “[w]e…

The aftermath of the Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy saw more than 20,000 retail investors in Hong Kong suffer losses from investments in structured products. This gave rise to political pressure on the Hong Kong Government to review its financial regulatory system and to step up its investor protection mechanisms. As one of the key outcomes of…

On 11 March 2011, the UNASUR treaty entered into force. UNASUR (the Union of South American Nations) is a regional organisation that comprises all twelve South American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. The entry into force of the treaty is an important development for the international arbitration community given some of the proposals that UNASUR is advancing, particularly in the field of investor-State arbitration.

In recent years, an increasing number of parties to arbitration clauses providing for CIETAC arbitration in mainland China have chosen to take advantage of Article 4.2 of the CIETAC Rules, which allows parties to adopt “other arbitration rules” as the applicable rules of the arbitration. The underlying reason for this trend is simple: Article 4.2…

While Russia is a signatory to the New York Convention, there is a perception amongst some practitioners and arbitration users that Russia is not an arbitration friendly jurisdiction. This viewpoint is, no doubt, due to a perceived scepticism of the Russian courts and is the driving force behind many foreign investors doing business in Russia…

Should arbitrators be permitted to serve as mediators of the disputes they might ultimately determine? Instinctive reactions to this question are likely to be coloured by a party’s legal background and cultural expectations. To those from common law traditions, the idea of combining the roles of mediator and arbitrator is rather alien, whereas in civil…

Hong Kong has unveiled its new Arbitration Ordinance. We take a look in this blog at how this is likely to affect parties and practitioners dealing with, or considering, arbitration in Hong Kong. After a lengthy and detailed consultation process, the Hong Kong Legislative Council has passed the new Arbitration Ordinance (Cap. 609) (‘new Arbitration…

In arbitration, as in other aspects of business life, parties often feel most comfortable when they are (literally) on familiar ground. If things go wrong, a European or American company might understandably prefer arbitration seated in Europe or New York. On the other hand, parties from the PRC, for example, are increasingly, and equally understandably,…

Everyone is looking at China at the moment, and rightly so. It’s a very exciting place to be. Many MNCs are already here and many others are determined to get a piece of the action. But where there’s business, there are disputes. And where there’s international business, there’s arbitration. There is no doubt that the…

When discussing public policy, English lawyers like to quote the famous comment of an English judge in the early 19th century that “public policy is a very unruly horse, and once you get astride it you never know where it will carry you”. Recent history shows how difficult it is to ride the ‘unruly horse’;…

Art. 207 of the Lisbon Treaty defines the new common commercial policy of the European Union, and states that it shall furthermore relate also to “foreign direct investments”. This provision has the appeal of an outright earthquake, given that the field of foreign investment, and in particular investment treaties, has always been the exclusive realm…

The 9.10.2009 session of the New York Convention subcommittee of the IBA in Madrid saw a lively discussion on the topic of enforcement of annulled arbitral awards. The discussion related to the “Yukos Capital” decision issued by the Amsterdam Court of Appeals in April 2009. The Amsterdam Court of First Instance had previously upheld the…

Germany has introduced an amendment to its Foreign Trade and Payments Act. It is a direct response to increased activities and acquisitions by sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), as they are often perceived to pursue economic as well as political aims. Despite this origin, the legislation does not only apply to SWFs. Instead, it allows the…

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…