The treatment of investor misconduct in investment treaty arbitration raises a series of complex issues.  Allegations of investor misconduct (such as fraud, illegality and corruption) can arise in the context of the making of an investment, during its operation, or in the investment treaty claim making process.   How should a tribunal address investor misconduct if…

In a recent decision dated 6 November 2009 (4A_358/2009), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court set aside an award by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne. The Supreme Court held that although its practice regarding the validity of arbitration agreements was generally liberal, in the present case the mere fact that the appellant…

One of the major problems related to the doctrine of the New Lex Mercatoria (NLM) is to determine its contents. The UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts, of which a third edition will perhaps be finalized this year, have used the Restatement technique of the American Law Institute as a means to “codify” transnational contract…

In international arbitration proceedings in Continental Europe, particularly in Germany but also in Switzerland and other countries, it has become increasingly popular for arbitral tribunals to get involved and even take active steps in facilitating a settlement between the parties during the course of a pending arbitration. This raises a number of issues, and parties…

Handicapping investor-state arbitration cases is a tough business. Indeed, it’s difficult to predict when decisions will come down – much less what they will say. The following somewhat-hastily-cobbled-together list constitutes my best guess as to the 10 most notable awards which may come down in 2010. I won’t hazard a guess as to what’s in…

As a political slogan, re-Belizeanization was supposed to have a brief shelf life. When the Government of Belize announced last August the “re-Belizeanization” of the tiny Central American country’s dominant telecommunications company, Belize Telemedia Limited, the government disavowed any intention to embark upon a broader programme of economic nationalization. “It is not part of any…

The emerging rule in the U.S. that, to recognize and enforce an arbitral award under the New York Convention, a U.S. court must have personal jurisdiction over the award debtor or his or her property in the forum, has attracted criticism. International arbitration specialists argue that this requirement restricts enforcement of valid arbitral awards in…

Agency as a mechanism for compelling a non-signatory to join arbitral proceedings By Hanna Roos for YIAG International investors, and those who advise them, continue to be vexed by the question of when a non-signatory, such as a sovereign state, can be compelled to join arbitral proceedings. A typical scenario involves a private investor who…

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…

Until recently, no arbitral tribunal had found an investor’s claim under a BIT to be barred by a fork-in-the-road clause. Previous tribunals have found that for a fork-in-the-road clause to apply, the same dispute between the same parties must have been submitted to the local courts before resort to international arbitration and have drawn clear…

In a recent decision dated 26 October 2009 (4A_428/2009), the Swiss Federal Tribunal held that a party that enters into a procedural agreement in parallel state court proceedings following unsuccessful compulsory judicial conciliation does not waive its right to arbitration when that party does not proceed on the merits without making any objections.

When I last visited South Africa in 2006, there was much talk of a potential bilateral investment treaty between SA and Zimbabwe. Three years later, as I make another visit to the region, the long-promised deal has just been sewn up. But, despite much clamouring for a protective pact – particularly from South Africans with…

The concept of “moral damage” as long been recognised at international law. Article 31 of the International Law Commission (“I.L.C.”)’s Articles on State Responsibility provides that a State must make full reparation for any “injury” caused to another State by an internationally wrongful act and defines “injury” as “any damage, whether material or moral, caused…

One aspect of Chinese arbitration law that is of enduring interest to the international arbitration community is the question of whether Chinese law permits non-Chinese arbitration institutions, such as the ICC, to administer arbitrations in China. In practice, a number of arbitrations have taken place and are currently taking place in China under the rules…

The seat of an arbitration is a crucial factor. It determines the lex arbitri and the courts with supervisory jurisdiction over the arbitration. The important consequences of the seat require parties to choose the seat carefully. Cases where no seat is chosen by the parties are not uncommon. The English High Court in Shashoua v…

In a decision of 25 August 2009 (4A_160/2009), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court held that where a claimant by piercing the corporate veil can assert a contractual claim against the majority shareholder, all rights and obligations from the respective agreement, including the arbitration clause, become binding on the majority shareholder, thus precluding the jurisdiction of…

The Fifth Circuit earlier this month issued a highly unusual decision addressing whether state law could “reverse preempt” the New York Convention. As any student of international arbitration knows, state law occasionally attempts to limit the enforceability of arbitration agreements. Such a policy is preempted by the New York Convention as implemented by the Federal…

Earlier this year, the Hong Kong Court of First Instance ruled that, in future, when it hears unsuccessful attempts to resist enforcement of arbitral awards under the New York Convention, it will “normally consider” awarding costs on an indemnity basis (i.e., in full, regardless whether they were reasonably incurred). This was a bold pro-enforcement statement…

United States Code Title 28 Section 1782(a) is well-known to practitioners who have participated in international arbitral proceedings involving U.S. parties. The provision governs the judicial assistance U.S. federal courts can provide in foreign discovery. It states, in relevant part, that federal trial courts “of the district in which a person resides or is found…

This week the good folks at Kluwer have launched a new blog, Kluwer Construction Blog. According to the press release, Managing Editor of the blog, Sarah Thomas, partner and international projects expert at Pinsent Masons, will draw contributions from a panel of pre-eminent construction lawyers and barristers covering Europe, the United States, Canada, Africa, South…

On September 9th, 2009, an intriguing editorial penned by Jeffrey Golden, a special US Counsel and global derivatives senior partner at Allen & Overy LLP, appeared on the Financial Times. It was titled “We Need a World Financial Court with Specialist Judges”. The reason why I bring this article to the attention of the readers…