The impact of COVID-19 is being felt in almost every work area across the globe. In order to keep readers abreast of this evolving situation, ILO's COVID-19 Weekly Report provides insight into the major legal developments of the past seven days, as well as a round-up of our panel of experienced international legal commentators' legislative and regulatory guidance.
The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) was established in 1966 by the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals. ICSID is an independent, neutral and effective dispute settlement institution. Its availability to investors and states helps to promote international investment by providing confidence in the dispute resolution process. It is also available for state-state disputes under investment treaties and free trade agreements.
Data protection and cybersecurity are hot topics in international arbitration and international surveys demonstrate that users of arbitration are concerned about data security. While there are signs that the market is listening, users seem to think that institutions, counsel and tribunals could do more to address cybersecurity. As these issues become more common, it is hoped that consistent practices will emerge to reassure users that their data will be secure.
The United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (Singapore Convention) has been signed by 46 states and will come into force six months after being ratified by at least three state parties. The convention responds to the demand from a growing body of mediation users for an enforcement mechanism applicable to mediated settlement agreements in cross-border disputes. However, its language has created some uncertainties.
Investor-state dispute settlement is an important feature of investment treaties as it is the procedural mechanism through which investors can claim compensation for a violation of a substantive investor-protection standard. The traditional mechanism (ie, investment arbitration between the investor and the host state, modelled on commercial arbitration) has been increasingly criticised. Hostility to the traditional model has led to changes in individual treaties and wider reform initiatives.
M&A lawyers mitigate buyer risk through expansive due diligence exercises and tight contractual controls. Arbitration has become a prominent forum for resolving these disputes. For example, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) has reported a significant increase in the number of shareholder, share purchase and joint venture agreements being referred to LCIA arbitration. This article examines the growth of arbitration as a forum for resolving such disputes.
As the economy becomes increasingly data focused, telecoms markets across the Middle East are changing considerably. The policy framework has not always kept pace with this rapid change, and aspects of telecoms regulations are now outdated. However, personal data protection and public-private partnership (PPP) laws are starting to affect telecoms contracts and investments. Specifically, PPP laws are enabling recourse to alternative dispute resolution methods, including arbitration.
The International Chamber of Commerce Commission recently published an update to its report on construction industry arbitration, focusing on recommended tools and techniques for effective management. The report is a helpful reminder for practitioners and arbitrators of the procedural mechanisms available which are particularly relevant to the conduct of arbitration in the construction sector.
In construction disputes, a significant amount of legal time (and therefore expense) is often spent simply locating and trying to understand the relevance of key documents because of poor document management practices throughout the project lifecycle. Establishing clear guidelines for document management and information collection is critical and will assist contractors and suppliers in making and evidencing claims in arbitration.
The expert phase is often the most critical, and sometimes costly, part of the arbitration process. Thus, choosing the right expert is crucial. This means ensuring not only that the expert has the appropriate qualifications, technical expertise and reputation in the relevant field, but also (if possible) suitable experience of the dispute process and of writing expert reports and giving evidence in adversarial proceedings. This article offers some practical tips for managing party-appointed experts in arbitrations.
Construction contracts are often part of a wider suite of project contracts, involving multiple, overlapping parties. This intertwined suite of contracts means that when a dispute arises, it arises under multiple project contracts, which can be difficult to deal with. Choosing arbitration as the dispute resolution procedure for each project contract – and ensuring that the arbitration agreement in each project contract is consistent – will help parties to achieve consolidation of future disputes under different project contracts.
The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) Administered Arbitration Rules 2018 have significantly amended the 2013 rules. In particular, the amendments have considerably reduced the time required to appoint an emergency arbitrator, which will also save parties money. By standardising its procedures and making them more efficient, the HKIAC has made itself an attractive international forum for settling disputes.
The New York Convention and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Model Law differentiate between the one-shot principle and the choice of remedies principle. Under the choice of remedies principle, award debtors may choose both active and passive remedies. Therefore, even if an award debtor does not use or pursue active remedies to challenge a preliminary ruling or set aside an award, it may resist the award's enforcement by passive means.
Gambia recently became the fifth nation to ratify the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-Based Investor-State Arbitration (Mauritius Convention). Eighteen other countries have signed the Mauritius Convention but have not yet ratified it. While no arbitrations subject to the convention have yet been initiated, if the current signatories were to ratify it, at least an additional 39 bilateral and multilateral treaties would become subject to the convention, unless expressly reserved.
It should be anticipated that new types of energy arbitration will emerge in 2018 and beyond, whereas others may decline. As always in the energy sector, an uncertain political landscape combined with cross-border investment in energy projects and fluctuating prices creates the model ecosystem for a whole spectrum of energy disputes to emerge globally, with arbitration remaining a key method of dispute resolution.
The public policy exception to the recognition and enforcement of international arbitral awards creates uncertainty with respect to the enforcement of these awards – particularly because contracting states have diverse approaches to issues of public policy. While some jurisdictions still maintain a parochial approach, recent trends invite cautious optimism that major jurisdictions are converging in the practice of adopting a narrow interpretation of the public policy exception.
A disgruntled party on the losing end of an award will sometimes seek to have the award annulled or set aside at the seat of arbitration. However, even if such a challenge at the seat is successful, that is not necessarily the end of the matter. Awards that are seemingly 'dead and buried' can sometimes be resurrected or haunt the losing party in other jurisdictions where enforcement of the award is sought.
In recent years, many of the leading arbitral institutions have amended their rules in order to make arbitration more responsive to users' needs. A key development has been the introduction of emergency arbitrator procedures, which enable parties to obtain urgent relief before the substantive tribunal is formed. These new developments are attracting significant attention from parties and arbitrators – but have enforcement mechanisms kept pace?
Although institutional rules arguably empower arbitral tribunals to streamline procedure and summarily dispose of claims or defences as part of their general case management authority, the trend is for institutional rules to expressly recognise such powers. But do these procedural innovations aimed at cheaper and quicker arbitrations come at the price of a binding and enforceable award?
While there are cases that involve claims for declaratory relief or specific performance, disputes are most often about payment. A claimant goes into battle – spending time and money to develop strong arguments and clever case theories – only if it expects the proceedings to result in a payout. There are several strategic steps that in‑house counsel can take throughout the process to maximise their chances of securing payment.