Introduction On 12 July 2016, a five-member arbitral tribunal (the Tribunal) constituted under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) issued its long-awaited award on the merits in an arbitration brought by the Philippines against China. The tribunal’s jurisdiction is derived from UNCLOS; all State parties to UNCLOS…

By a Final Award dated 27 October 2015 (see ICSID Case No. ARB/11/33 – Adel A Hamadi Al Tamimi v. Sultanate of Oman), an international tribunal constituted under the International Convention for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), also commonly referred to as the Washington Convention, dismissed all claims brought by a US national against the…

As Mariel Dimsey has observed, a key challenge posed by investment treaties is that – at the point of ratification – they expose States to arbitrations of ‘as-yet-unknown scope and against as-yet-unknown claimants’. Gus van Harten and Martin Loughlin argue that this feature differentiates investment disputes from those heard in other fora, transforming investment disputes into something akin to ‘domestic judicial review of state conduct’….

On 27 July 2015 the Bill amending to the Brazilian Arbitration Law will come into force, introducing significant changes in the arbitration legal framework, which, according to the stated purpose of the amendments, aim at improving the original Brazilian Arbitration Law, enacted in 1996. The amendments attempt to consolidate established practices as well as settling…

It is well known that the Singapore Court of Appeal refused enforcement of Awards in favour of Astro in 2013 (discussed here), on the grounds that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction over the claimants. The same Awards have now been enforced against First Media, a Lippo company, in Hong Kong (Astro Nusantara International B.V. v PT…

and Paul Tan, Jawad Ahmad and Victor Steinmetz, Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP In what marks the first time where a Singapore court reviews an investment arbitral tribunal’s jurisdiction, the High Court held in Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic v Sanum Investments Ltd [2015] SGHC 15 that, contrary to the tribunal’s findings, the…

An arbitral award (PCA Case No. 2011-17, 31 January 2014) arising out of the nationalisation of an electricity generation business in Bolivia has provided useful guidance on: (1) the ability of multiple investor claimants to bring joint claims against a state under separate BITs in a single proceeding; and (2) the time at which a…

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…

By Carmen Núñez-Lagos and Javier García Olmedo In an award rendered on 31 January 2014, an arbitral tribunal constituted under the UNCITRAL Rules declined jurisdiction over the claims brought by one of two claimants against the Plurinational State of Bolivia on the basis of the application of a denial of benefits clause in the US-Bolivia…

The Brazilian Superior Court of Justice (“STJ”) has issued, on 19 June 2013, a landmark decision addressing the principle of Kompetenz-Kompetenz (Resp. no. 1,278,852-MG Samarco Mineração S/A v Jerson Valadares da Cruz). The decision deals with the allocation of competence between arbitral tribunals and national courts to decide on the validity of an arbitration agreement….

and Benjamin Ainsley Gill When seeking to extend an arbitration clause to a third party who is not a signatory to the clause, common law practitioners will often have resort to an argument that the corporate veil should be pierced – in other words, that the court or tribunal should disregard the separate legal identity…

In a recent decision, the Mauritian Supreme Court has roundly rejected a challenge to an arbitrator’s jurisdiction brought under section 20 of the Mauritian International Arbitration Act 2008, and in doing so touched upon the interesting question of the standard of review in such cases. Section 20 of the International Arbitration Act 2008 (“IAA”) allows…

Nathalie Voser and Anya George Few Swiss cases have sparked as much debate in the arbitration community as the Swiss Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Vivendi vs. Elektrim. In that decision, the Supreme Court upheld the award of an arbitral tribunal seated in Switzerland which had declined jurisdiction over one of the respondents, Elektrim, after…

A recent decision of the Brazilian Superior Court of Justice (“STJ”) has ruled, for the first time, on the issue of the concurrent jurisdiction of national courts and arbitral tribunals with respect to the making of interim measures (Itarumã Participações S.A. v Participações em Complexos Bioenergéticos S.A. – PCBIOS, Resp no. 1,297,974-RJ). The decision is…

Investment arbitration under intra-EU investment treaties has been a controversial topic for years. The European Commission has repeatedly expressed the view that arbitration clauses in bilateral investment treaties between EU Member States are in conflict with EU law and therefore inoperative, while arbitral tribunals have, on several occasions, assumed jurisdiction on the basis of such…

Following a previous round of amendments in 2009 that came into effect on 1 January 2010, the Singapore Ministry of Law published further proposed amendments to Singapore’s International Arbitration Act (“the IAA”) on 8 March 2012. The proposals took into account views garnered from a public consultation process. There are four key proposals in this…

By Matthias Scherer and Sam Moss In a recent decision issued on 7 November 2011 on a request for annulment of a partial award on jurisdiction rendered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“TAS”), the Swiss Supreme Court recalled and applied its previous jurisprudence on the interpretation of pathological arbitration clauses (Case 4A_246/2011). The…

It has become fashionable in recent years, each time an ICSID annulment decision is released that takes issue with the procedures or reasoning of an ICSID tribunal, for commentators to bemoan the lack of certainty, predictability and finality that this reflects in the ICSID system for adjudicating investment treaty disputes between investors and host States….

On 7 October 2011 the Svea Court of Appeal ruled on whether an arbitral award should be declared invalid or annulled because the dispute – as alleged by the plaintiff – was not arbitrable under the Swedish Arbitration Act.1)Case no. T 6798-10. In finding that the dispute was arbitrable, the Svea Court considered several interesting…

In an emergency, swift and effective action is required. Yet in international arbitration proceedings, it can take weeks or months to constitute an arbitral tribunal. What options, then, are open to a party in need of urgent interim relief before an arbitral tribunal has been formed? In many circumstances, applying to the national courts of…

As we approach the first anniversary of the UK Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the case of Dallah Estate and Tourism Holding Company v The Ministry of Religious Affairs, Government of Pakistan, it is only fitting that we would encounter a case which would cause us to revisit the issue of the proper standard of…

In a landmark provisional judgment in Democratic Republic of the Congo v. FG Hemisphere Associates FACV Nos. 5, 6 & 7 of 2010, the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (CFA) has held by a majority of 3:2 that absolute sovereign immunity applies in Hong Kong, with no exception for purely commercial transactions or assets….

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,…