international arbitration

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision on June 1 in GE Energy Power Conversion France SAS, Corp. v. Outokumpu Stainless USA, LLC, holding that, in some circumstances, even nonsignatories to an agreement may invoke international arbitration. The Court ruled that the U.N. Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention) did not prohibit the application of the U.S. doctrine of equitable estoppel to permit the enforcement of arbitration agreements by nonsignatories. In doing so, the Court clarified that the doctrine of equitable estoppel recognized under Chapter 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) for U.S. domestic arbitrations could also be applied to international arbitration proceedings governed by Chapter 2 of the FAA.

For parties who regularly engage in multi-tiered international commercial arrangements like the kind seen in GE Energy, the ruling expands the reach of international arbitration agreements and gives those parties greater clarity into their own ability to utilize international arbitration to resolve complex disputes.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Interprets New York Convention to Allow Arbitration Agreement Nonsignatories to Invoke International Arbitration

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend carefully choreographed arbitration schedules, parties, counsel and arbitrators have expressed interest in the use of video-conferencing technology to manage remote arbitration hearings. And while arbitration is no stranger to video conferencing, the arbitration community has never sought to utilize this technology on the scale being imagined today. As a result, counsel and arbitrators have clamored for guidance on how to effectively structure and manage remote arbitration proceedings.

This post seeks to introduce readers to the “Seoul Protocol on Video Conferencing in International Arbitration” as a potential resource. Released in March 2020, but developed long before the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Seoul Protocol offers a standard set of protocols that counsel and arbitrators may turn to for guidance on how to address some of the logistical challenges presented by remote arbitration hearings. While not directly applicable to all circumstances involving video hearings, and principally targeted at international arbitration practitioners, the Seoul Protocol offers helpful default standards that may be more widely applicable to streamline video-conference proceedings.

Some of the key features of the Seoul Protocol are summarized below.
Continue Reading The Seoul Protocol: Guidelines for Remote Arbitration Hearings During the COVID-19 Outbreak

With the signing of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation in August 2019, there has been a newfound focus on how parties can improve and expand the use of alternative forms of dispute resolution outside conventional litigation and arbitration proceedings.  Pepper Hamilton attorneys Albert Bates and R. Zachary Torres-Fowler contributed

This article was published in Law360 on December 4, 2019. © Copyright 2019, Portfolio Media, Inc., publisher of Law360. It is republished here with permission.

On Nov. 21, the Queen Mary University of London School of International Arbitration, in partnership with the U.K.-based law firm Pinsent Masons LLP, released its ninth annual international arbitration survey focused on international construction disputes.

As a nod to the significance the construction industry plays in the field of international arbitration, the 2019 Queen Mary University survey marks the largest industry-specific survey its School of International Arbitration has ever conducted and offers insights that will undoubtedly be used for years to come.
While the survey data and accompanying report provide a granular level of analysis concerning a wide variety of topics, below are some of the key takeaways of interest to U.S. practitioners.

Continue Reading New International Arbitration Study Offers Construction Dispute Insight

Abdul Latif Jameel Trans. Co. v. FedEx Corp., No. 19-5315 (6th Cir. Sept. 19, 2019).

In the world of international arbitration, where document disclosure is already relatively limited compared to practices in federal and state court, 28 U.S.C. § 1782 — titled “Assistance to foreign and international tribunals and to litigants before such tribunals” — has been a commonly overlooked tool for obtaining useful evidence in support of an international arbitration. In broad strokes, the statute permits a federal district court to require a person within the district to provide documents or testimony for use in a proceeding in a “foreign or international tribunal.”

Continue Reading Expanding Disclosure in International Arbitration: Sixth Circuit Rules That 28 U.S.C. § 1782 Permits Parties to Pursue Discovery in Support of Private Commercial International Arbitrations

BML Properties Ltd. v. China Construction America Inc., et al., 101 N.Y.S. 3d 597 (N.Y. App. Div. 2019)

On July 2, 2019, a New York appellate court upheld a lower court ruling by Justice Saliann Scarpulla, denying a state-backed Chinese contractor’s attempt to compel international arbitration arising out of a dispute involving the construction of the multibillion Baha Mar mega-resort in the Bahamas.  As a result of the ruling in BML Properties Ltd. v. China Construction America Inc., et al., 101 N.Y.S. 3d 597 (N.Y. App. Div. 2019), aff’ing No. 657550/2017 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Jan. 24, 2019), the $2.25 billion lawsuit alleging “one of the largest construction-based frauds in this hemisphere” will remain in the New York courts.  As explained below, for those in the international construction industry, the case will be worth following.

Continue Reading New York Appellate Court Affirms Decision to Deny Motion to Compel Arbitration in Multi-Billion Dollar Construction Dispute

As many owners and contractors involved in the international construction industry are aware, international arbitration is a popular dispute resolution device for international construction disputes because, in part, international arbitration awards are, broadly speaking, enforceable in practically every jurisdiction in the world. This facet of international arbitration has been set out in the U.N. Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention) — a multilateral convention that requires the courts of the contracting states to recognize and enforce arbitration awards made by tribunals seated in other contracting states. Now, with 160 signatory states and the increasing popularity of international arbitration around the world, the New York Convention is widely viewed as one of the most successful international conventions ever.

Continue Reading New Conventions, New Problems?: A Pair of Recently Announced International Conventions Aim to Replicate the Success of the New York Convention