Arbitration Links - Linklaters
  • Topic: Challenges & Set Aside

The foreign act of state doctrine in English arbitration proceedings

20 September 2018 Akshay Sewlikar, England & Wales; India

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In Reliance Industries v Union of India [2018] EWHC 822 Reliance Industries Limited and BG Exploration and Production India Limited (the “Claimants”) challenged awards made in favour of the Union of India (the “Government”) under the Arbitration Act 1996 (the “AA 1996”). The English High Court (the “Court”) had the opportunity to consider the issue of the applicability of the foreign act of state doctrine to English seated arbitration proceedings.

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English High Court considers the interpretation of an arbitration clause written in a foreign language

22 August 2018 Stephen Lacey, England & Wales; Europe

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A recent decision of the English High Court provides important guidance about the interpretation of arbitration clauses under English law when first written in a foreign language. The essence of the judgment is that, where the translation is contested, any ambiguity should be resolved by standard methods of contractual construction.

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English commercial court considers requirement for party to be given fair opportunity to respond

07 August 2018 Sadie Buls; Stephen Lacey, England & Wales; Europe

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In the recent decision of Grindrod Shipping v Hyundai Merchant Marine [2018] EWHC 1284, the English Commercial Court considered the degree to which issues relied upon by the tribunal must have been put before it; in particular, whether points raised by one of the parties in one context can be deployed by the tribunal in another. The short answer is that there is no problem with this, provided the issues can be said to have been “in play” so as to give the other a fair opportunity to respond.

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Dutch Supreme Court applies strict interpretation of the (alternative) time limit for filing for the annulment of an arbitral award

06 July 2018 Marc Noldus; Caroline De Ruiter-Vleggaar, Europe; The Netherlands

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The Dutch Supreme Court has ruled in favour of a strict application of the (alternative) time limit for filing for the annulment of an arbitral award. If the first time limit of three months after the deposit or dispatch of the award has lapsed, a claim for annulment cannot be filed until the start of the second time limit of three months after service of the award and leave for enforcement.

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English Court of Appeal considers grounds for removing an arbitrator

06 June 2018 Alex Hannington, England & Wales; Europe

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The English Court of Appeal in Halliburton Co v Chubb Bermuda Insurance Ltd (and others) [2018] EWCA Civ 817 accepted that an arbitrator’s acceptance of multiple appointments concerning overlapping subject matter, without disclosure, did not provide grounds for his removal under s.24(1)(a) of the Arbitration Act 1996 (the “Act”).

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English Court of Appeal considers “public policy” exception to enforcement of an Award

29 May 2018 Mikhail Vishnyakov, England & Wales; Europe

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In RBRG Trading (UK) Limited v Sinocore International Co Ltd [2018] EWCA Civ 838 an Award debtor (“RBRG”) argued that enforcement of an international arbitration award (an “Award”) under the New York Convention would be contrary to English “public policy”.

Finality is one of the key advantages of arbitration. However, if enforcing an Award would offend English public policy then enforcement may be refused by the English Courts. For example, Awards obtained by perjury or fraud can be susceptible to challenge. If an Award is otherwise tainted by illegality (for example, if the underlying contract is illegal), its enforcement may also offend English public policy. The determination of illegality and its effect on enforcement is a matter on which judicial guidance is always welcome.

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Award need not be deferred pending determination of same issues in another forum

21 May 2018 Mikhail Vishnyakov, England & Wales; Europe

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In SCM Financial Overseas Ltd v Raga Establishment Ltd [2018] EWHC 1008 the English High Court held that a Tribunal’s decision not to defer its Award pending judgment from a foreign court on the same issues did not render the Award susceptible to challenge for “serious irregularity” pursuant to Section 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996.

Although the Tribunal could have deferred its Award, the decision on whether to do so fell within the Tribunal’s legitimate discretion. In this case, the Tribunal properly exercised its discretion and the challenge was therefore dismissed.

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English Commercial Court considers arbitration clause in implied contract in s.67 challenge

09 May 2018 Stephen Lacey; Sadie Buls, England & Wales; Europe

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In SEA2011 Inc v ICT Ltd [2018] EWHC 520 (Comm), London’s Commercial Court rejected three challenges to an arbitrator’s jurisdiction, two based on the identification of the parties to the arbitration clause and one based on the nature of the contract. The judgment is an interesting illustration of how, when English law applies, ordinary rules of contract can assist in identifying both the parties to a contract and whether an arbitration clause is incorporated where that contract is “implied”.

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Successful challenge on basis of serious irregularity – A tribunal’s failure to deal with contribution claim

13 April 2018 Sadie Buls, England & Wales

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In P v D & Ors [2017] EWHC 3273 (Comm), London’s Commercial Court upheld a challenge to a London Court of International Arbitration award brought under s.68 Arbitration Act 1996 for serious irregularity. The claimant sought remission of the award on the basis that the Tribunal failed to deal with all the issues that were put to it (in particular, it failed to consider the claimant’s contribution claim in the proceedings), thereby causing the claimant substantial injustice. In its judgment, the Court identified a number of errors in the Tribunal’s award and provided guidance on when a LCIA Tribunal can exercise post-award powers to make corrections or issue additional awards under the LCIA Rules.

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Does a slip buy more time? English High Court considers the relationship between corrections of awards and time limits for appeal

05 April 2018 Stephen Lacey, England & Wales; Europe

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In DSMG v Songa [2018] EWHC 538 (Comm), the English High Court has examined whether an application to the tribunal to make straightforward corrections to an award extends, under the English Arbitration Act 1996 (the “Act”), the period for bringing a challenge in court against the award. It appears that it is only where an application for corrections is material - in the sense of enabling a party to know whether it has grounds to challenge an award - that it will do so.

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English High Court considers the impact of third party funding in the context of a challenge to an Award

28 February 2018 Mikhail Vishnyakov, England & Wales

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In Progas Energy Limited et al v the Islamic Republic of Pakistan [2018] EWHC 209 (Comm) the English High Court considered the conditions to be imposed on the Claimants who sought to challenge an award.

The Court ordered security for costs against the Claimants notwithstanding the fact that they had the support of a commercial third party funder. However, third party funding did not impact on the Court’s refusal to order, as a condition of the challenge, the security of sums due under the award being challenged.

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Successful section 68 challenge where no opportunity to make submissions on costs

14 February 2018 Joanne Finnegan, England & Wales

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In Oldham v. QBE Insurance (Europe) Ltd [2017] EWHC 3045 (Comm), the Commercial Court allowed a challenge to an arbitral award under section 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 on grounds of serious irregularity where the applicant had not been given a reasonable opportunity to make submissions as to costs.

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Set aside decision highlights important practice point for Requests for Arbitration under LCIA rules

31 January 2018 Stephen Lacey; Sadie Buls; Matthew Weiniger, England & Wales

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In A v B [2017] EWHC 3417 London’s Commercial Court held that the LCIA rules did not permit a Request for Arbitration filed by the claimant to include related claims under two contracts and their associated LCIA arbitration agreements (thereby denying the tribunal jurisdiction). Claimants in LCIA arbitrations may therefore well wish to consider filing multiple requests in like circumstances in future.

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Do arbitration clauses catch cartel damages claims? First German court decision answers this question in the affirmative

09 January 2018 Dr. Rupert Bellinghausen; Julia Grothaus, Europe; Germany

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Whilst the CJEU’s 2015 landmark decision in CDC v. Akzo Nobel et al. considered whether cartel damages claims fall within the scope of jurisdiction clauses in favour of EU Member States, what about arbitration clauses? The first German court decision on this issue, handed down by the Regional Court of Dortmund (Landgericht Dortmund), has concluded that, where German law applies to the clause, they do – irrespective of whether the clause is worded broadly or narrowly (judgment of 13 September 2017, case no. 8 O 30/16 [Kart]).

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No appeals on a point of law by stealth: the limits of s.69 Arbitration Act 1996

14 December 2017 Stephen Lacey, England & Wales

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In an English seated arbitration, s.69 Arbitration Act 1996 permits, albeit under certain limited circumstances, an appeal to the court on a question of English law arising from an arbitral award. The High Court’s recent decision in "The CV Stealth" [2017] EWHC 2808 illustrates the need to think carefully about such a course of action.

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High Court decides that FOS decisions are not arbitral awards

22 November 2017 Joanne Finnegan, England & Wales

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In Berkeley Burke SIPP Administration LLP v Charlton [2017] EWHC 2396 (Comm), the High Court held that a determination of the FOS was not an arbitral award and therefore cannot be appealed under section 69 Arbitration Act 1996 (the “Act”).

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English Court examines approach to interpretation of foreign law

09 November 2017 Mikhail Vishnyakov, England & Wales

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In The Kyrgyz Republic v (1) Stans Energy Corporation and (2) Kutisay Mining LLC [2017] EWHC 2539 (Comm) the English High Court rejected a challenge to an award based on a lack of jurisdiction on the part of the Tribunal. The challenge was brought under Section 67 of the Arbitration Act 1996, which applies to all London seated arbitrations. Although the claim concerned the investment protection legislation of Kyrgyzstan, and the application of Kyrgyz law, the Court’s ruling is instructive in the process that the English courts will follow in interpreting the meaning of foreign laws in general (including investment/investor protection legislation).

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Paris Court of Appeal sets aside ECT arbitration award

03 October 2017 Clément Fouchard, France

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The French courts have had very few opportunities to rule on the setting aside of an investment treaty arbitration award. For this reason, the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal in Moldova v société Komstroy (Court d'appel de Paris, Pôle 1- Chambre 1, République de Moldavie v société Komstroy, 12 avril 2016, n°13/22531) is of great interest. It deals with the degree of control over an investment arbitration award by the French courts and the definition of the legal concept of investment in the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).

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Post-award challenges to impartiality and independence in Germany

13 September 2017 Julia Grothaus; Rupert Bellinghausen, Europe; Germany

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Both the setting aside of arbitral awards and the impartiality and independence of arbitrators and experts are recurring topics in international arbitration. They particularly converge when facts giving rise to doubts about impartiality and independence become known only after an arbitral award has been rendered. In a recent decision, the German Federal Court of Justice abandoned long-standing German case law and set aside an award after an expert nominated by the arbitral tribunal had failed to disclose facts relating to his impartiality and independence. As the relevant statutory provisions apply to both experts and arbitrators, the decision will be highly relevant for challenge and enforcement proceedings in Germany.

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Some reflections on unmeritorious challenges to arbitrators

22 August 2017 Christian Albanesi, Europe; Latin America; United States of America

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There is a general perception that unmeritorious challenges to arbitrators are on the rise. Is this really the case, how can they be identified and what can be done about them? Christian Albanesi, our Head of Latin American Arbitration, offers some thoughts.

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High Court restates test for extending the time to challenge arbitral awards

15 August 2017 Adrien Canivet, England & Wales

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In Rollitt (trading as CD Consult) v Ballard [2017] EWHC 1500 (TCC), the High Court rejected an application for permission to appeal an arbitral award on a point of law under section 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (“the Act”).  In doing so, it restated the test for extending the time to challenge an award under section 79 of the Act.

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When, under English law, can damages be reduced for benefits obtained following a breach of contract?

20 July 2017 Francesca Fraser, England & Wales

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On 28 June 2017, the UK Supreme Court handed down judgment in Globalia Business Travel SAU (formerly TravelPlan SAU) of Spain v Fulton Shipping Inc "The New Flamenco" [2017] UKSC 43 in which it unanimously allowed an appeal on a point of English law under s.69 Arbitration Act 1996 (the "Act"). The case concerned the extent to which benefits obtained by an innocent party following a breach of contract should be taken into account in assessing its damages for that breach.

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English court allows challenge to New York Convention award based on contravention of public policy arising from fraud

12 July 2017 Joanne Finnegan, England & Wales

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The High Court has allowed a claim that a New York Convention award was obtained by fraud to go to trial, even though it was upheld by the seat's courts.

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English Commercial Court rejects suggestion that appointment of an arbitrator in related arbitrations constitutes apparent bias

06 July 2017 Charlotte Luker-Coombs, England & Wales; Europe

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The recent case of H v L & Others [2017] EWHC (Comm) 137 confirms that the appointment of an arbitrator in related references (and his/her failure to disclose those appointments) will not of itself create an appearance of bias so as to justify his/her removal under s.24(1)(a) Arbitration Act 1996 (the “Act”). The judgment summarises the test for apparent bias in an English seated arbitration and emphasises the integrity and impartiality of arbitrators as a central tenet of the same.  Separately, Popplewell J has also confirmed that orders granted pursuant to powers under the Act cannot be varied under CPR 3.1(7).

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English High Court clarifies criteria applicable to s.70(7) of the Arbitration Act 1996

29 June 2017 Erin Marsh, England & Wales

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In Erdenet Mining Corporation LLC v ICBC Standard Bank PLC & Others [2017] EWHC 1090 (Comm) the High Court clarified the criteria applicable to the exercise of its discretion under s.70(7) of the Arbitration Act 1996 (the “Act”), pursuant to which the Court may order (in relation to an arbitration seated in England) that any money payable under an arbitral award shall be brought into court or otherwise secured pending the determination of a challenge to the award under ss.67, 68 or 69 of the Act.

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Luxembourg court of appeal refuses enforcement of annulled Pemex award

08 June 2017 Katrien Baetens, Europe; Luxembourg

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In a judgment dated 27 April 2017, the Luxembourg Court of Appeal has confirmed its earlier jurisprudence by refusing the enforcement of a US$300 million ICC award against the Mexican state oil and gas company Pemex that was set aside at the seat of arbitration.

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The parties’ ability to terminate proceedings for the annulment of an arbitration award: recent developments in Spain

06 June 2017 Emma Morales, Europe; Spain

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On 4 April 2017, the Madrid High Court of Justice ("TSJM"), the court in Spain that handles appeals for the annulment of awards, issued two decisions (case numbers 43/2016 and 63/2016) in which it confirms the doctrine already advanced by means of a previous judgment rendered by the same court (judgment of the TSJM dated 28 February 2017 [JUR 2017/ 89938]).

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English High Court rejects attempt to obtain disclosure from arbitrators in support of an application to remove them

18 May 2017 Adrien Canivet, England & Wales; Europe

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In P v. Q & Others [2017] EWHC 148 (Comm), a party to an arbitration sought an order, in support of its application to remove two arbitrators, that the tribunal disclose material to it. The High Court dismissed this request; it recognised that arbitrators’ adjudicative materials are, like judges’, immune from disclosure.  It also clarified the scope of that immunity.

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U.S. Appeals Court rejects conflict-of-interest challenge to London award

08 May 2017 John Akin; Adam Lurie, North America; United States of America

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In a March 31 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed a lower court’s decision to confirm an $18.5 million arbitral award entered by a London tribunal in favor of the Belize Bank Ltd. (“the Bank”), rejecting an argument from the government of Belize (“Belize”) that an arbitrator’s alleged conflict of interest violates U.S. public policy. The decision affirms the principle that barristers in the same English chambers—unlike lawyers in an American law firm—are presumed to be independent practitioners.

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UK Supreme Court on security and challenging enforcement of arbitral awards

20 April 2017 Rebecca James, England & Wales; Europe

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The UK Supreme Court has recently overturned a ruling of the Court of Appeal which effectively required the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (“NNPC”) to provide security as a condition to challenging the enforcement of an award on public policy grounds pursuant to section 103(3) of the Arbitration Act 1996 (the “Arbitration Act).  This decision represents the latest development in a long-running legal saga involving protracted proceedings to challenge the award in Nigeria as well as enforcement proceedings in England.

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A heightened level of review of arbitral awards in the context of money laundering allegations

11 April 2017 Johanne Brocas, Europe; France

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The Paris Appeal Court has annulled an arbitral award rendered against the Kirghizstan Republic for violation of the BIT between Latvia and Kirghizstan on the ground that the enforcement of the award in France would result in allowing the investor to benefit from fraudulent money laundering activities.

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“Adverse inference” doctrine endorsed by the Paris Appeal Court

11 April 2017 Pierre Duprey, Europe; France

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In a decision of 28 February 2017, the Paris Appeal Court held that the IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration 2010 (the IBA Rules of Evidence) were applicable as long as the rules were agreed upon by the parties in the Procedural Order n°1.  Further, the court ruled that the tribunal was entitled to apply the adverse inference doctrine provided at Article 9(5) of the IBA Rules of Evidence.

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Investment Arbitration in Australia: an update

31 January 2017 Alexander Fawke, Asia-Pacific; Australia

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The past year has seen a number of major developments in international arbitration in Australia, including the conclusion of new trade deals and the long-running Phillip Morris investment arbitration. This article surveys the most important changes in case law, legislation, investor-state dispute resolution and local arbitral institutions in the past year.

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International commercial arbitration in Australia: recent developments

31 January 2017 Alexander Fawke, Asia-Pacific; Australia

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Australia’s body of arbitration case law continued to grow in the past year, with increasing breadth and sophistication. Key cases covered the public policy ground for resisting enforcement; the appropriateness of awarding costs on the indemnity basis when an application to resist enforcement is refused; and non-signatories to arbitration agreements.

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Escalation Clauses: no longer a tripping hazard for arbitrations with seat in Germany?

01 December 2016 Julia Grothaus; Dr. Rupert Bellinghausen, Europe; Germany

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Escalation clauses need careful drafting to be enforceable and commercially useful. There is uncertainty as to the consequences of the parties’ non-compliance with escalation clauses providing for ‘final’ dispute resolution by means of arbitration. Will it affect the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal or the merits of the claim and can an arbitral award even be set aside? In two recent decisions, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) clarified that, in arbitral proceedings seated in Germany, an arbitral tribunal is entitled to assume jurisdiction irrespective of whether the parties complied with the escalation clause.

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Who should know the law: the arbitrators or the parties?

03 October 2016 Cezary Wisniewski; Alicja Zielinska-Eisen, Europe; Poland

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What could be done at an early stage in the proceedings to apply the principle of iura novit curia in a way that would be acceptable to both common law and civil law practitioners and prevent or limit challenges to the arbitral award?

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