ENGLISH HIGH COURT CONSIDERS RARE APPLICATION UNDER S32 ARBITRATION ACT 1996 TO DETERMINE PRELIMINARY POINT OF JURISDICTION

In the recent decision in Armada Ship Management (S) Pte Ltd v Schiste Oil and Gas Nigeria Ltd [2021] EWHC 1094 (Comm) the English High Court (the “Court“) considered a rare application under s32 Arbitration Act 1996 (the “Act“) to determine a preliminary point of jurisdiction in circumstances where the arbitration clause was unclear on how the sole arbitrator was to be appointed. Although the Court rejected the application, the decision provides a rare glimpse of judicial treatment of applications under s32, including the circumstances where an application would be likely to succeed.

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RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF JUSTICE CLARIFIES RUSSIAN ARBITRATION LEGISLATION UPON JOINT REQUEST OF HKIAC AND VIAC

In February 2020, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (the “HKIAC”) and the Vienna International Arbitration Centre (the “VIAC”) jointly applied to the Russian Ministry of Justice (the “MOJ”) and the Council for the Development of Arbitration at the MOJ (the “Council”) for clarification of certain “grey areas” of Russian Arbitration legislation (the “Joint Request“). Both arbitration institutions have recently published the response issued by the Working Group No. 2 on Foreign Arbitral Institutions of the Council (the “Working Group”) on the questions posed in the Joint Request (the “Response“)[1]. Although the position in the Response was declared to be non-binding on the Russian courts, the Working Group’s views might impact Russian court practice on the reformed arbitration legislation.

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AD HOC ARBITRATION ALIVE AND WELL IN LONDON: THE LATEST STATISTICS

Leading arbitral institutions regularly publish their case statistics, meaning there is reasonable visibility for the popularity of institutional arbitration. However, it is more difficult to reliably gauge ad hoc international arbitration trends across all sectors and jurisdictions. It is certainly clear from the new figures recently released by the London Maritime Arbitrators Association (“LMAA”) that London-seated ad hoc arbitration is thriving, and there are a number of other indications that ad hoc arbitration continues to be widely trusted.

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