Arbitration Links - Linklaters
  • Topic: Challenges & Set Aside
  • Jurisdiction: Europe

Striking out arbitration claims for inordinate and inexcusable delay

17 October 2018 Joanne Finnegan, England & Wales; Europe

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In Dera Commercial Estate v Derya Inc [2018] EWHC 1673 (Comm), the English Commercial Court provided useful guidance on when arbitration claims may be dismissed for inordinate and inexcusable delay under s.41(3) Arbitration Act 1996 (the “AA”).

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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