Lex Arbitri

The Law of International Dispute Resolution

On March 22, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in the case brought by Servotronics Inc., where it challenged the Seventh Circuit’s decision to reject discovery pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782 for use in a private arbitration brought by Rolls-Royce PLC in London.  The Supreme Court’s decision should resolve the current circuit split on the question of whether Section 1782 can be used for private international arbitration, which has been an ongoing topic of interest among international arbitration practitioners and scholars.…
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, parties to an arbitration agreement and arbitrators have grappled with the issue of the right to a live, in-person arbitration hearing.  Is there a due process concern that flows from conducting remote proceedings over one side’s insistence on in-person hearing?  For example, parties’ facility with presenting testimony and evidence remotely may be limited, arbitrators’ technical proficiency may be lacking, and they may be uncomfortable with taking evidence remotely.  Then there is the difficulty of presenting the case effectively across different time zones and the potential unfair advantage to one party over another caused by requiring one…
The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”) opened its first office outside of Asia in New York on December 3, 2020.  According to SIAC, US parties are consistently among the top foreign users of SIAC and in 2020 alone, over 500 US parties have arbitrated under SIAC’s Rules.  According to SIAC’s 2019 Annual Report, U.S. was the fourth top foreign user of SIAC, coming after India, Philippines, and China.[1]  As an increasingly popular arbitral institution, not just amongst parties located in Asia but worldwide, SIAC has taken the leap to become a global institution, aiming to have a greater…
On June 1, 2020 the United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in GE Energy Power Conversion Fr. SAS, Corp. v. Outokumpu Stainless USA, LLC, No. 18-1048, 2020 WL 2814297 (U.S. June 1, 2020), holding that the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention) does not conflict with the enforcement of arbitration agreements by non-signatories through domestic equitable estoppel doctrines.…
As discussed in our previous blog, many foreign companies favor private international arbitration for dispute resolution purposes in order to avoid being haled into a U.S. court and to avoid U.S.-style discovery.  That calculus may change if the Supreme Court decides to consider whether a district court has authority to order discovery under 28 U.S.C. § 1782 for use in private commercial arbitration, which would resolve the current split amongst Circuit Courts.…
The outbreak of the coronavirus has been an unprecedented event affecting every industry, including construction.  To ensure their entitlement to an extension of time, costs, or even termination, parties to construction contracts need to carefully review the contract provisions that allocate risks.  Below, we discuss a number of practical considerations that may arise under a standard form construction contract – such as the FIDIC Red Book – in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.…
Since our last update, a little over a month ago, many major arbitral institutions have updated their guidance regarding COVID-19 in light of the continuing impact of the pandemic on ongoing proceedings.  Below we have included updated guidance from major arbitral institutions and expanded the chart to include a number of new institutions.  Thirteen major arbitral institutions[i] also issued a joint statement regarding “Arbitration and COVID-19.”[ii]  The statement encouraged parties and arbitrators to work together to mitigate the effects of COVID‑19 on proceedings while still ensuring fairness.…
The global health pandemic is a crisis affecting the health and well-being of our citizens, and a financial crisis of unknowable breadth and duration. We are all in crisis to one degree or another and trustees of private trusts face conditions and decisions once unthinkable. Trustees will be called upon to make the most difficult decisions of their tenures, including investments, management of trust assets, cost measures and decisions about distributions to beneficiaries.…
International arbitration often equals international travel for both counsel, witnesses, and arbitrators.  But with the new reality of travel restrictions, “shelter in place” orders, remote work, and restrictions on gathering, in person hearings, especially among persons from different nations, may not be feasible, at least in the short term, and maybe longer.…
International arbitration is becoming an increasingly relevant forum for the resolution of intellectual property (“IP”) disputes. This should not be a surprise given multi-country licensing of patents, trademarks and trade secrets, as well as broader market forces such as globalization, digitalization, and the Internet. In a global economy, intellectual property rights (“IPRs”) are often a company’s most valuable assets. The ability to exploit, protect and enforce IPRs on a cross-border level is thus critical. As with other types of cross-border disputes, international arbitration provides an attractive forum for the resolution of disputes over IPRs.…
The International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) and the International Bar Association (IBA) have established a Joint Task Force on Data Protection in International Arbitration Proceedings. The task force will develop guidance for arbitration professionals with regard to data protection in arbitration proceedings. This guidance, which is expected to be published for comment later this year or in early 2020, aims provide practical guidance on the potential impact of data protection principles. In particular, it will recommend how information and evidence subject to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) is to be handled in international arbitration proceedings.…
In order to minimize the risk of litigation arising from investments in the United States, sovereign wealth funds (“SWFs”) should take care to avoid inadvertent or unnecessary waiver of sovereign immunity–before they establish operational or investment management presence in the United States. SWFs generally benefit from sovereign immunity in the United States under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (“FSIA”). As an agency or instrumentality of foreign state, they are generally entitled to immunity from the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts. However, an SWF may lose or limit its sovereign immunity where the SWF: (1) is involved in “commercial activities” in…
When asked why they choose to resolve their disputes through international arbitration, parties often identify confidentiality as an important factor. While the parties may think their arbitration is confidential, in many cases, the proceeding is merely private. In the context of arbitration, privacy and confidentiality are not necessarily the same. Privacy means that arbitration proceedings are not open to the public, but privacy does not preclude the parties from disclosing the proceedings to third parties. Confidentiality, by contrast, means the parties (and the arbitrators) may not disclose the proceedings to third parties or the public, including evidence, written submissions, arbitral…
In a long-awaited ruling of June 18, 2019, the General Court of the European Union (“GCEU”) annulled the European Commission’s 2015 State aid decision in the Micula case (joined cases T-624/15, T-694/15 and T-704/15). The ruling provides valuable clarifications regarding the relationship between intra-EU bilateral investment treaties (“BIT”) and EU State aid rules. In sum, the GCEU confirmed that the European Commission lacked jurisdiction to apply EU law in a situation where all relevant events took place before accession to the EU. The validity of intra-EU BITs was not at issue because, during the relevant time period, the BIT…
For various reasons–including fairness, efficiency, and avoiding inconsistent results–courts and arbitration tribunals apply a range of procedural tools to discourage parties from pursuing multiple, separate dispute resolution proceedings between the same parties over related claims arising from a single dispute. In cases involving foreign investment within the coverage of an investment treaty, such as a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) or free trade agreement, however, the investing party may have compelling reasons to simultaneously pursue commercial arbitration pursuant to contract, and investment arbitration pursuant to treaty. And unlike other situations where courts and tribunals may look askance at parallel proceedings, the…