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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 [...]

The Singapore Approach to Allegations of Awards Infra Petita – BLC and Ors v. BLB and Anor [2014] SGCA 40

In further nod to the non-interventionist and pro-arbitration stance of the Singapore courts, the Singapore Court of Appeal in BLC and ors v. BLB and anor [2014] SGCA 40 (“the BLC decision“) reversed the decision of the High Court to set aside part of an arbitration award (“Award“) on the ground of a breach of natural justice. The court also provided valuable guidance on Articles 33(3) and 34(4) of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (“Model Law“).

Background facts

The dispute arose out of an unsuccessful joint venture between the parties. The appellants commenced arbitration against the respondents alleging that they had breached several agreements, in particula [...]

German Federal Supreme Court Underlines Non-Intervenistic and International Approach of German Arbitration Law

In an order dated 28 January 2014 (file number III ZB 40/13), the German Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof, the “Court”) clarified that an arbitral award can only be set aside in recognition or enforcement proceedings by a state court in “extremely exceptional cases”, i.e. if an award breaches the fundamental principles of the German legal system in a manifest way.

The Court considered this clarification was necessary because by its wording, the relevant provision of the German arbitration law, Sect. 1059 para. 2 no. 2 b) of the code of civil procedure (Zivilprozessordnung – “ZPO”), does not require such “manifest” breach of the fundamental legal principles. The wording of the prior [...]

Damages as a Sanction for Commencing Court Proceedings in Breach of an Arbitration Agreement

Arbitration proceedings sometimes spawn a host of parallel court proceedings.  It is not unheard for parties to seek to instrumentalise courts, sometimes with the complicity of the courts themselves, to escape the jurisdiction of an arbitral tribunal.  Such conduct may, however, expose parties to liability for breach of the arbitration agreement, as was confirmed by a recent decision of the Swiss Supreme Court (4A_232/2013 of 30 September 2013).

In many cases, parties referring a dispute which is covered by an arbitration agreement to a state court do it for tactical reasons, with the hope of obtaining a more favourable decision from the courts in their home jurisdiction than from a neutra [...]

A New Episode In The Jnah vs. Marriott Saga : The 17 December 2013 Decision Of The Paris Court Of Appeal

By Roland Ziadé and Claudia Cavicchioli, Linklaters LLP

On 17 December 2013, the Paris Court of Appeal added a new chapter to the Jnah vs. Marriott saga, when it ruled on an action to set aside an arbitral award issued on 3 February 2012 by which an arbitral tribunal denied jurisdiction over claims brought on behalf of Jnah relating to the termination of a hotel management contract.
This decision, which applies the new regime of French arbitration law, confirms that, as had been held by the French Cour de cassation in the Abela case (Cour de cassation, 6 October 2010, Rev. Arb. 2010, p. 815) under the previous arbitration law, the French juge de l’annulation conducts a full review of an a [...]

Primera v Jiangsu – Challenging an Award on the Ground of Serious Irregularity: English Courts Criticise Attempts to Nitpick an Award

and Nikki O’Sullivan, Senior Associate at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

In a recent decision of the English Commercial Court, Flaux J restated the general principle that the focus of an enquiry under Section 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (“the Act”) is to ascertain whether due process has been observed in the making of an Award. It is not designed to be a qualitative assessment of the correctness of the Tribunal’s decision. The case demonstrates that a veiled attempt by a party to appeal an award on the facts or law under the guise of a challenge under Section 68 (no matter how sophisticated the concealment) will not be entertained.

The dispute concerned the Claimant, Primera’s clai [...]

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