ILO adopts new treaty on forced labour

On 11 June 2014, the International Labour Organisation (“ILO”) adopted a Protocol (“Protocol”) to the 1930 Forced Labour Convention No. 29 (“Convention”). The Protocol is intended to update the 84 year old Convention and to address gaps in its implementation.

The Protocol calls for governments to pursue a range of measures in order to prevent and eliminate forced labour, including by ensuring that the coverage and enforcement of legislation relevant to the prevention of forced labour applies to all workers and sectors of the economy and by strengthening labour inspection services.

The Protocol will enter into force one year after it has been ratified by at least two member States of the ILO.

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Filed under International Human Rights, Public International Law

Interim relief from Iran sanctions extended to November 2014

Herbert Smith Freehills has published its Sanctions Update e-bulletin on recent developments in the sanctions regime against Iran.

On 21 July 2014, it was announced that the six month suspension of EU and US sanctions against Iran as part of the Geneva Joint Plan of Action agreed in January 2014 would be extended until 24 November 2014 to allow negotiations between the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the US) and Iran to continue.

Both the UK and US have made announcements relating to the extension and the EU has published Council Decision 2014/480/CFSP which extends the previous relaxations until 24 November.

For further information, please contact Rod Fletcher, Partner, Susannah Cogman, Partner, Daniel Hudson, Partner, Elizabeth Head, Associate, or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.

Rod Fletcher
Rod Fletcher
Partner
Email | Profile
+44 20 7466 2411
Susannah Cogman
Susannah Cogman
Partner
Email | Profile
+44 20 7466 2580
Daniel Hudson
Daniel Hudson
Partner
Email | Profile
+44 20 7466 2470
Elizabeth Head
Elizabeth Head
Associate
Email
+44 20 7466 7555

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Filed under Europe, Middle East, Sanctions, The Americas

The Impounded Boeing 737 – The Saga Continues

Following on from their previous article in Young Arbitration Review (“YAR”), “The Impounded Boeing 737“, Herbert Smith Freehills associates Vanina Sucharitkul and Gregory Travaini have published a further article on Walter Bau AG v The Kingdom of Thailand entitled “The Impounded Boeing 737 – The Saga Continues” in the fourteenth edition of YAR.  Here, they examine Thailand’s continued efforts to resist enforcement of the arbitration award in multiple jurisdictions. To read the full article, please click here.

For further information, please contact Vanina Sucharitkul, Senior Associate, Gregory Travaini, Avocat, or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.

Vanina Sucharitkul
Vanina Sucharitkul
Senior Associate
Email
+66 2 6573821
Gregory Travaini
Gregory Travaini
Avocat
Email
+33 1 53 57 65 37

This article was first published in Young Arbitration Review, July 2014, p.5 and is reproduced by kind permission of Young Arbitration Review.

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Filed under Arbitration laws, Asia, Awards, Enforcement, Investment Arbitration

Australian Court upholds primacy of the arbitral fact finding process

On 16 July 2014, the Full Federal Court of Australia handed down its reasons for dismissing TCL Air Conditioner (Zhongshan) Co Ltd’s (TCL) appeal[1] from the Court’s decision in in Castel Electronics Pty Ltd v TCL Air Conditioner (Zhongshan) Co Ltd (No 2).[2] The decision clarifies the circumstances in which an arbitral award will be set aside or denied recognition or enforcement under the Model Law as a result of a failure to accord a party procedural fairness in connection with making the award.

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Filed under Australia, Challenges to awards, Enforcement, New York Convention

A further step towards transparency: UNCITRAL approves Draft Convention on Transparency in Treaty-Based Investor-State Arbitration

On 9th July 2014, at its 47th session, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) approved a Draft Convention on Transparency in Treaty-Based Investor-State Arbitration (the Convention). The main aim of the Convention is to extend the application of the UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (the Transparency Rules). As previously reported by us, the Transparency Rules were introduced to try and increase transparency in investor-state arbitrations by allowing for greater public access to documents and hearings and for interested parties to make submissions to the tribunal.

If adopted by the UN and embraced by states, the Convention has the potential to bring about a significant change to the resolution of investor-state disputes, impacting states and investors alike.

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Filed under Arbitration rules, Investment Arbitration

UNCLOS Annex VII Tribunal decides Bangladesh-India maritime boundary dispute

On 7 July 2014, an Arbitral Tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (the Convention) issued its award in the Bay of Bengal Maritime Boundary Arbitration between the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Republic of India, granting approximately 106,613km2 to Bangladesh and 300,220 km2 to India, out of a total relevant area of 406,833km2. The Award provides much needed clarity on the maritime entitlements of both Bangladesh and India.

Like the 2012 decision of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in the Bangladesh/Myanmar case, a consequence of the delimitation was the creation of a small “grey area” creating potential overlapping entitlements of Bangladesh, India and Myanmar (which was not a party to the arbitration).

While in deciding larger uncertainties over the entitlements of Bangladesh and India the Tribunal created new (albeit smaller) uncertainties over competing sovereign rights in the grey area, the Tribunal’s encouragement of the parties to cooperate in the exercise of their sovereign rights is to be welcomed. There are a number of precedents where states have shared rights in maritime areas to achieve a favourable solution for all parties.

The Award also provides an excellent precedent for the peaceful settlement of maritime boundary disputes and shows how States can de-politicise sovereignty issues and cooperate to achieve political and commercial certainty.

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Filed under Asia, Boundaries and Delimitation, India, Public International Law

“A Delicate Matter”: English Court considers enforcement of awards set aside by the courts of the seat and ability to claim post-award interest in those circumstances

In the case of Yukos Capital SARL v OJSC Rosneft Oil Company [2014] EWHC 2188 (Comm) the English Court considered two preliminary issues relating to the long-running dispute between Yukos Capital SARL (“Yukos Capital”) and OJSC Rosneft Oil Co. (“Rosneft”). The issues were as follows:

  1. Whether enforcement of arbitral awards that have been set aside by the courts of the seat is precluded under common law; and
  2. whether, in principle, interest could be recovered on such arbitral awards under either Russian and/or English law.

In relation to the enforcement issue, the Court considered the “test” was whether it could (in particular and identifiable circumstances) treat an award as having effect notwithstanding a later decision of a court annulling the award. The Court found that, as a general position, it would be unsatisfactory and contrary to principle if a Court were bound to recognise a decision of a foreign court which offended against basic principles of honesty, natural justice and domestic concepts of public policy.

It is clear therefore that, in general terms, the Court has the power to enforce the Awards at common law notwithstanding the set-aside decisions of the courts of the seat. However, it now remains for Yukos Capital to prove the allegations which it has made as to why those set aside decisions should not be recognized by the English Court.

Whilst the claim to interest under Russian law was unsuccessful (as a matter of Russian law), the Court concluded that, in principle, interest on the sums claimed in the English proceedings could be recovered under Section 35A of the Senior Courts Act 1981, notwithstanding the fact that interest had not been awarded by the tribunal.

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Filed under Enforcement, Enforcement - Europe, Europe, New York Convention

Chinese Supreme People’s Court issues five-year reform plan to enhance judicial independence

Background

The Supreme People’s Court of China (“SPC“) issued its fourth five-year reform plan for courts on 9 July 2014.   The reform is one of the top priorities of President Xi Jinping’s administration, and has the stated aim of strengthening judicial independence and professionalism by giving judges more authority in making their rulings and autonomy from interference by local governments.

The reform is in line with the judicial reform decisions taken at the third plenary session of the 18th Communist Party Central Committee earlier this year, which pledged to ensure the lawful and independent use of judicial authority to enhance transparency and credibility.

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Filed under Hong Kong & China

English Commercial Court rejects application by U&M Mining Zambia Ltd for security for sums due under award pending challenge

In Konkola Copper Mines Plc v U&M Mining Zambia Ltd [2014] EWHC 2146 (Comm), the English Commercial Court considered two related applications on behalf of U&M Mining Zambia Ltd (U&M) for security for costs and a payment into court, under sections 70(6) and 70(7) of the Arbitration Act 1996 (the Act), in relation to challenges made by Konkola Copper Mines Plc (KCM) under sections 67 and/or 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 to an arbitration award dated 6 January 2014.

Eder J upheld U&M’s application for security for costs under section 70(6) of the Act; however, he rejected U&M’s application for a payment into court of US$41,259,274.47 under section 70(7) of the Act.

The case highlights the need for an applicant under section 70(7) in particular to put before the Court not only evidence that there is a real risk of dissipation of assets that could be used to satisfy the award, but also evidence that the challenges to the award would prevent, hinder or prejudice enforcement of the award.

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Filed under Challenges to awards, Enforcement, Enforcement - Europe, Europe

English High Court: requirement to engage in time limited “friendly discussions” before arbitration is enforceable

In the 1 July 2014 decision in Emirates Trading Agency LLC v Prime Mineral Exports Private Limited [2014] EWHC 2104 (Comm), Teare J considered whether the parties’ agreement to first seek to resolve a dispute by “friendly discussion” constituted an enforceable condition precedent to arbitration.

In a decision which gives more ‘bite’ to a “friendly discussion” clause than has previously been the case in English authorities, Teare J ruled that holding a “friendly discussion” acted as a condition precedent to arbitral jurisdiction. The English courts have so far generally not enforced an agreement to negotiate (see Walford v Miles [1992] 2 AC 128 and Cable & Wireless v IBM [2002] EWHC 2059 (Comm)) or an agreement to settle disputes amicably (see Sulamerica CIA Nacional de Seguros SA and others v Enesa Engenharia SA and others [2012] EWCA Civ 638). This judgment represents a stark change in the English courts’ position on the enforceability of agreements to negotiate in dispute resolution clauses.

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Filed under ADR, Arbitration clauses, Australia, Europe