For international arbitrations seated in the United States, there has sometimes been a tension between the so-called “American rule” against the shifting of attorneys’ fees and litigation costs to the loser of the proceedings, and the more accepted practice of fee-shifting in international arbitrations as expressed in procedural rules such as the UNCITRAL and LCIA…

In two recently reported cases, parties to arbitrations have challenged arbitrator and/or institutional fees where the underlying awards have also been subject to annulment or set aside proceedings. Are these cases isolated instances or do they signal an increased trend? The answer may have widespread ramifications for how, and where, arbitrations are conducted and administered….

The much-awaited decision of the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) in Allianz SpA v. West Tankers Inc, Case C-185/07 in February this year has focused renewed attention on the remedies available to a party confronted with court proceedings commenced in another jurisdiction in breach of an agreement to arbitrate. Now that the possibility of seeking…

In Switzerland, the Federal Supreme Court has recently, and for the first time, had the opportunity to hear and reject the challenge of an award rendered pursuant to the Expedited Procedure (Article 42) of the Swiss Rules. There is nowadays a recurring complaint that arbitration is becoming too long and too expensive a dispute resolution…

What could be more basic? Arbitrations begin with each side naming an arbitrator. References are occasionally made to “the fundamental right” to name one’s arbitrator. But there is no such right. Moreover, if it existed, it would certainly not be fundamental. The original concept that legitimates arbitration is that of an arbitrator in whom both…

George Bermann, the ALI Reporter for the Restatement (Third) on the U.S. Law of International Commercial Arbitration, presented a wonderful summary of the current progress on the Restatement at the ASIL annual meeting last week. Here are a few key thoughts from my notes. The Restatement is in its early stages and it could take…

American Bar Association’s International Law Section Criticizes the ABA Dispute Resolution Section’s Subcommittee Draft on Arbitrator Disclosure Guidelines It has been interesting to watch the strong reaction to the draft disclosure guidelines and checklist for arbitrators proposed by the Disclosure Subcommittee of the Arbitration Committee of the ABA’s Dispute Resolution Section. Over the last two…

“…so many construction disputes are now heading towards arbitration” remarks the calling notice for the next Society of Construction Law-Gulf event in Dubai in April. Around the world, the economic downturn is producing very many financial disputes. The speculation is that with the global recession deepening, the number of arbitrations is set to spiral upwards….

A recent decision of the English High Court (F Ltd v M Ltd [2009] EWHC 275 (TCC)) confirms that the Court may intervene and allow successful challenge of an arbitral award in order to protect parties against the unfair conduct of an arbitration. However, the case also demonstrates that the applicable test (i.e. a serious…

Banks and financial institutions traditionally have favoured litigation over arbitration as the means of resolving international disputes. The reasons often given include: (i) financial disputes typically involve straightforward payment claims and do not involve complex legal questions or fact finding, with the latter more suited for arbitration; (ii) arbitration does not provide for the possibility…

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Hall Street Associates, L.L.C. v. Mattel, Inc., 128 S. Ct. 1369 (2008) has provoked substantial commentary – as with many Supreme Court decisions regarding arbitration. The Hall Street decision held that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) did not permit parties contractually to expand the grounds for vacating or…

Just over one week ago, two pieces of anti-arbitration legislation – the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2009 (H. R. 1020) and the Consumer Fairness Act of 2009 (H. R. 991) – were formally introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Both acts would limit the ability to arbitrate consumer disputes, and the Arbitration Fairness Act…

On October 9, 2008, the Paris Court of Appeal rendered two decisions confirming the importance of estoppel in international arbitration. See Merial SAS v. Klocke Verpackungs – Service GmbH, October 9, 2008, Case no. 07-06619; Marocaine des Loisirs v. France Quick SAS, October 9, 2008, Case no. 07-14539.

In a recent decision dated 10 October 2008 (4A_224/2008), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court found an arbitral tribunal competent to decide on a party’s request that its contractual partner should refrain from calling a bank guarantee. A Turkish company active in the production of fertilizer (X A.S.) had concluded a construction contract under which its…

Like its subject-matter, my book on “International Commercial Arbitration” is intended to be of use and interest to the widest possible audience around the world. It aspires to provide a comprehensive description and analysis of the contemporary constitutional structure, law, practice and policy of international commercial arbitration. It also endeavors to identify prescriptive solutions for…