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Hong Kong Emerges as Russia’s Refuge while the EU’s Sanctions Cripple Major Russian Businesses

Numerous commentators have reported on the sanctions war in the past. What remains to see is how the sanctions war affects the Russia-related arbitration geography.

On 8 September 2014, the European Union introduced a new set of sanctions on major Russian companies and wealthy individuals. The sanctions came following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its involvement with large-scale military operations in the East of the Ukraine. In the EU Council parlance, the sanctions comprise “restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine”, and they are imposed “in view of Russia’s actions destabilizing [...]

DIFC Court Practice Direction on the conversion of DIFC Court judgments into DIFC-LCIA awards goes full steam ahead!

In a recent lecture at the DIFC Courts (see Lecture Series No. 5, Practice Direction providing for the wider enforcement of Court Judgments through DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre, 19 November 2014), Chief Justice Michael Hwang announced that the DIFC Court Practice Direction No. X of 2014 amending Practice Direction No. 2 of 2012 DIFC Courts’ Jurisdiction would likely be adopted and enter into effect in January 2015. On that occasion, the DIFC Courts circulated a revised version of the Practice Direction (the “revised Practice Direction”) taking account of observations made by the legal profession on the draft Practice Direction following a consultation exercise that completed in August [...]

Israeli Supreme Court Lost between the Israeli Arbitration Act and the New York Convention

The dispute in Siemens AG and Siemens Israel Ltd. v. Israeli Electric Cooperation Ltd. (3331/14, Supreme Court of Israel Judgment, 13 August 2014) arose out of a request for tenders for the purchase and maintenance of gas turbines issued by the Israeli Electric Cooperation (IEC), following which it entered into several contracts with Siemens Israel and Siemens AG. All of the contracts contained an identical arbitration clause providing for arbitration “to be held as promptly as possible at such place in Israel as may be mutually agreed upon between the parties”. In 2013, IEC commenced an action against Siemens in the Israeli District Court, claiming that the contracts were signed as a re [...]

A blast from the past… the ‘unified Arab investment treaty’ and finality of arbitration awards

In one of the very rare decisions issued by courts in the Arab world applying the provisions of the Unified Agreement for the Investment of Arab Capital in the Arab States (the “UAIAC”), the Cairo Court of Appeal has revived in its decision dated February 5, 2014, the principle of finality of arbitration awards, by which it rejected a claim for annulment of a UAIAC award, filed by the State of Libya (first claimant to annulment), the Libyan ministries of Economy and Finance (second and third claimants) and the General Authority for encouraging investments (fourth claimant), against a kuwaiti investor, Al-Kharafi & Sons Co. (case n° 39, judicial year 130/2014). The ratio decidendi of the cou [...]

The Growth of Arbitrator Power to Control Counsel Conduct

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 an elite group of arbitrators whose judgment, neutrality and expertise were rarely questioned and who resolved disputes with a minimum of acrimony between the parties. Today, international commercial arbitration differs in significant ways from the days of the “Grand Old Men.” In the modern global arena, arbitrators are themse [...]

DIFC Court of Appeal confirms the DIFC’s status as host jurisdiction for recognition of domestic awards

In a recent ruling of the DIFC Court of Appeal (see Case CA-005-2-14, ruling of the DIFC Court of Appeal of 3rd November 2014), Justice Sir David Steel affirmed the previous ruling of the DIFC Court of First Instance in Banyan Tree v. Meydan Group LLC (see Case No. ARB 003/2013 – Banyan Tree Corporate PTE LTD v. Meydan Group LLC, ruling of the DIFC Court of First Instance of 27 May 2014 and my previous blog). As a result, it can now be taken as established (at least pending onward enforcement before the Dubai Courts) that the (offshore) DIFC Courts do have competence to hear actions for the ratification of domestic (onshore) Dubai awards (in the present case an award rendered under the au [...]

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