Costa Rica has a new Arbitration Law, which is based on the 2006 version of the UNCITRAL Model Law. The relative speed with which the new Arbitration Law was adopted came as a surprise to many. Only a few months ago, at the Second International Arbitration Congress organized by the ICC Costa Rica in San…

In the current zeitgeist focusing on the need for efficiency and speed in arbitration, we are at risk of over-correcting to the point of diminishing important functions of the arbitral process. There is little doubt that the arbitral process generally has become too much like litigation, and needs to be more efficient and less costly….

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…

“…there are known knowns; these are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know” Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. One of…

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…

One of the key issues that now awaits the decision of the U.K. Supreme Court in Jivraj v. Hashwani is whether there is a contract between the parties and the arbitrators, such that the arbitrators may be considered “employees” of the parties (and thereby subject to the law prohibiting discrimination by employers)? If there is…

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

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…

The Singapore Court of Appeal issued a decision recently articulating a principled framework for the arbitrability of insolvency-related claims. It provides useful guidance on when an insolvency-related claim would be considered non-arbitrable under Singapore law. In seeking to strike the delicate balance between its robust pro-arbitration stance and its insolvency regime, the Court’s underlying philosophy…

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…

As has been chronicled in previous postings, the 2008 decision of an ICSID arbitral tribunal to award $1 Million (US) in “moral damages” to an injured company has been eyed covetously by other investor-claimants in investment treaty disputes. Such sums may be “small change” compared to the more conventional forms of economic compensation claimed for…

Conferences on arbitration frequently include a session on “drafting” dispute resolution clauses for international contracts. The term drafting is also included in the title of many articles, book chapters, and entire books. While the actual content that follows this topic heading is often helpful, especially for non-specialist in-house counsel and transactions lawyers, the term itself…

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…

Such a makeover will certainly not be achieved in sixty minutes. Sixty days will not nearly be enough. One would not, however, have to be too audacious to hope that India can reinvent itself as an arbitration-friendly part of the world in sixty months. From its early years as a newly independent, fledgling democracy, India…

[Editor’s Note: Upon hearing the results of the Vis competition, I invited members of the winning team to do a blog post about their experience. Below are the reflections of the members of the University of Ottawa Vis team on winning the competition.] It’s nice when hard work pays off. It’s even nicer when five…

Throughout 2010 and into this year there have been numerous entries on this blog dealing with various aspects of international arbitration’s lack of efficiency and runaway costs, and proposing various remedies or reforms. These have included contributions from Roger Alford, Lucy Reed, Niuscha Bassiri, Philipp Peters, Lisa Bench Nieuweld, and many provocative posts from Michael…

January 28, 2011 – violent protests rocked Egypt; February 2, 2011 – political anxiety and ongoing unrest in Egypt threaten to shake other economies; February 11, 2011 – Mubarak resigned. March 22, 2011 – fire at Egypt interior ministry; April 17, 2011 – ex-ministers to be tried. Recently, a significant amount of unrest has occurred…

According to the rules governing domestic arbitration (Art 30 of the Concordat on Arbitration, and, as of 1 January 2011, Art. 378 of the Swiss Federal Code on Civil Procedure), a party that does not pay its share of the advance on the arbitration costs requested by the arbitral tribunal risks to lose the benefit…

It is interesting to see what can happen sometimes during an oral hearing for an arbitral proceeding. I have noted from my esteemed colleagues that they have witnessed a very interesting phenomenon – watch the arbitrators – can you tell who appointed whom? Should you be able to? Having worked for most of my career…

The recent decision of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division (an intermediate state appellate court) in Sojitz Corp. v. Prithvi Information Solutions Ltd., 2011 N.Y. Slip Op. 1741; 2011 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1709, bolsters New York’s reputation as a jurisdiction friendly to international arbitration. In this case, which involved two non-U.S. parties in…

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…

According to article 7 of the Swiss Private International Law (PILA), if the parties have entered into an arbitration agreement, the Swiss Court before which the action is brought shall decline its jurisdiction unless it finds that the agreement is null and void, inoperative or incapable of being performed. An initiative to amend article 7…

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.