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It is twelve years since an ICSID tribunal dismissed World Duty Free’s claim against the Republic of Kenya for breach of a lease agreement signed in 1989. As is well known, the claimant obtained the contract with a $2 million bribe to former President Moi, and the tribunal held, inter alia, that it could not uphold a claim based on a contract obtained through corruption, deeming it contrary to international public policy (World Duty Free Company
The Paris Court of Appeals recently upheld an arbitral award applying OHADA law. The application to set aside the award had been brought by the State of Cameroon based on arguments made under Cameroonian law. However, the Court applied OHADA law over Cameroonian law, in the process confirming the supranational nature of OHADA law. This is therefore an interesting decision which shows the courts of a state external to OHADA confirming that law’s pre-eminent stature.…
Hogan Lovells hosted an event yesterday, 30 October 2018, at its Hong Kong office, as part of the Hong Kong Arbitration Week, titled “Making Arbitration Fit for the Future”.  The event was graced by the presence of Bernard Hanotiau as the keynote speaker, followed by speeches from HKIAC’s Sarah Grimmer and Hogan Lovells’ James Kwan, Julianne Hughes-Jennett and Dan González. Keynote Speaker: Bernard Hanotiau Bernard Hanotiau kicked off the seminar by noting…
The draft ‘Rules on the Efficient Conduct of Proceedings of International Arbitration’ (the “Prague Rules“), which were released on 1 September 2018, makes for sombre reading for users of arbitration. It comments that “it has become almost commonplace these days that users of arbitration are dissatisfied with the time and costs involved in the proceedings”. Indeed, interviewees of the 2018 Queen Mary survey on International Arbitration said that “the default mindset that an…
In Z and Y [2018] HKCFI 2342, the Hong Kong Court of First Instance (“CFI”) refused to recognize and enforce an arbitral award (“Award”) of the China Guangzhou Arbitration Commission (“Commission”) on the basis that enforcement under section 95(3)(b) of the Hong Kong Arbitration Ordinance would be contrary to the public policy of Hong Kong.  This is a rare example of the Hong Kong courts invoking such ground.  The judgment also dealt with commonplace arguments…
In recent years, US federal procedural law has emerged as a powerful weapon in cross-border disputes. In particular, section 1782 of Title 28 of the United States Code (28 USC §1782) allows district courts in the US to order the discovery of evidence for use in foreign and international proceedings – including, according to several courts, foreign-seated arbitrations. The recent Commercial Court decision in Dreymoor Fertilisers Overseas Pte Ltd v EuroChem Trading GmbH [2018] EWHC…
Africa’s economic growth is picking up pace and is expected to reach 6.3% in East Africa and 3.4% in Sub-Saharan Africa by the end of this year.  Foreign direct investment into Africa is also expected to increase from $41.8bn to $50bn, due in part to the signing of the historic African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement in March. As international investment and trade in Africa increases, so does the number and frequency of commercial…
In what has been a long-standing dispute comprising several applications before the courts of Singapore and Hong Kong, the Singapore High Court has rejected an application to refuse enforcement of an arbitral award for US$200 million in damages. The application to refuse enforcement was made pursuant to Article 36(1) of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (Model Law), which forms part of Singapore’s International Arbitration Act. The applicant argued that: The award was…
The Singapore High Court has refused an application to set aside an award on the basis that there had been a breach of natural justice. The central issue in the application was whether the imposition of an “attorney eyes only” order by the arbitral tribunal, restricting inspection of certain documents produced to counsel, amounted to a breach of natural justice that justified setting aside the award. The Singapore High Court rejected this argument on the…
The Singapore High Court has refused an application to challenge the enforcement of a Danish Institute of Arbitration award, and dismissed an alternate argument for the adjournment of the enforcement proceedings. The applications to challenge enforcement were made pursuant to section 31(2)(c) and section 31(4)(b) of the International Arbitration Act (IAA) (Cap 143A, 2002 Rev Ed), on the basis that the applicant had been unable to properly present its case in the arbitration and that…