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Enforcing Awards Following a Decision at the Seat: the US or the French Approach?

The enforcement of awards following a decision at the seat remains a controversial issue in international arbitration. Should an enforcement court follow the decision of the seat court, or can the enforcement court reach a different conclusion? US courts and French courts continue to take different approaches to this issue.

US courts will defer to a decision at the seat of arbitration unless the decision ‘violates basic notions of justice’. Accordingly, if an award is set aside at the seat of arbitration, a US court will refuse enforcement of the award under Article V(1)(e) of the New York Convention, absent a showing of serious impropriety by the seat court. For example, in the recent [...]

Challenging Arbitral Awards in Singapore

The Singapore courts have a well-earned reputation for supporting arbitration proceedings and favouring minimal curial intervention. That reputation has been enhanced by a number of recent decisions in which the courts have either granted stays of court actions pending the resolution of arbitration proceedings or rejected applications for arbitral awards to be set aside, including two recent cases, TMM Division Maritima SA de CV v Pacific Richfield Marine Pte Ltd [2013] SGHC 186 and BLC and others v BLB and another [2014] SGCA 40. By contrast, the recent decision of the Singapore High Court in AKM v AKN and another and other matters [2014] SGHC 148 provides a rare example of the courts gran [...]

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 [...]

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