SIERRA LEONE PARLIAMENT APPROVES NEW ARBITRATION LEGISLATION

Further to its accession to the New York Convention in 2020 (discussed in our blog post here), Sierra Leone’s House of Parliament has approved a new arbitration law. The Arbitration Act 2022 bill was introduced to the House by the Deputy Minister of Justice, Hon. Umaru Napoleon Koroma on 2 August 2022. The legislation now awaits signature by the President of Sierra Leone.

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Data Objects: Law Commission of England & Wales proposes new category of personal property

On 28 July 2022, the Law Commission of England and Wales published a consultation paper on the recognition and protection of digital assets. The consultation paper recommends law reform to recognise a third category of personal property – referred to as ‘data objects’ – in addition to things in possession (such as physical objects) and things in action (such as contractual rights). The consultation paper acknowledges the flexibility of English law to accommodate digital assets within existing legal principles (including crypto-tokens and cryptoassets). However, the Law Commission recommends reform to ensure ‘data objects’ are treated consistently under English law and, thus, to promote greater legal certainty.

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INSIDE ARBITRATION ISSUE #14 PERSPECTIVES ON CROSS-BORDER DISPUTES

Welcome to issue 14 of Inside Arbitration.

We are delighted to share with you the latest interactive issue of this publication from Herbert Smith Freehills’ Global Arbitration Practice.

Despite signs of post-Covid recovery, the invasion of Ukraine has had global ramifications, exacerbating the already challenging cost-of-living crisis, with soaring inflation as energy, food and consumer product prices have spiked. Many of our corporate clients have been faced with closing their Ukrainian operations and supporting staff through enormously challenging circumstances. As trusted advisors to our clients, we need to be able to anticipate and respond to the challenges and opportunities on the horizon as political and financial instability have knock-on effects across regions and sectors.

Incorporating articles, interviews and videos from our practitioners around the network, this edition features articles and interview spotlights from across our global team in addition to recent arbitration news and developments including:

  • The war in Ukraine – implications for investments and contracts: Andrew Cannon, Hannah Ambrose, Olga Dementyeva and Jake Saville-Tucker explore some of the principal considerations in relation to terminating Russia-related commercial contracts and how investment treaties may offer an avenue for recourse if investments in Ukraine or Russia are affected by Russian state action.
  • The future of energy disputes: shocks to the system: Craig Tevendale, Louise Barber and Divyanshu Agrawal discuss how battered supply chains and turbulent geopolitics mean the energy sector should brace for a surge in disputes
  • Cyber disputes – are there borders in the blockchain? With the cyber economy fast emerging, courts are struggling with drawing borders in a decentralised world. Simon Chapman QC and Troy Song highlight one recent case that hints at the path ahead
  • Arbitration in Dubai: wa hala’ la wein (where do we go from here?): Following a busy year, Stuart Paterson, Nick Oury and Patrick O’Grady reflect on how the consolidation of two leading Dubai arbitration centres has radically changed the UAE disputes landscape
  • Whether virtual or physical, we can do more to make arbitration hearings sustainable: Amal Bouchenaki, Craig Tevendale, Maguelonne de Brugiere and Olga Dementyeva present the findings of our study comparing the carbon impact and expense of virtual hearings with in-person equivalents.
  • Investor-state dispute resolution series part II: Reform or rebirth?: With concerns from stakeholders growing, Andrew Cannon and Vanessa Naish consider how ongoing reforms could rebalance the ISDS process.
  • Asia-Pacific private equity disputes to rise as deal volumes grow: Following a period of pandemic-enforced turbulence, private equity deals have rebounded strongly, with disputes likely to grow as a result. Chad Catterwell and Guillermo Garcia-Perrote consider the implications of recent developments for disputes in this sector.
  • Spotlight interviews: Our three new arbitration partners Jonathan Ripley-Evans, Dan Waldek and James Allsop feature in our Spotlight articles, shedding light on their specialisms in their regions (and their story so far)

Previous issues can also be viewed here. We hope that you enjoy reading issue #14 of Inside Arbitration and would welcome any feedback you may have.

ENGLISH COURT AGREES WITH TRIBUNAL: RELYING ON A SUBMISSION LATER THAT COULD HAVE BEEN RAISED EARLIER IN THE ARBITRATION WOULD BE AN ABUSE OF PROCESS

In Union of India v Reliance Industries Ltd and another [2022] EWHC 1407 (Comm), the Union of India (the “Government”) challenged an award under ss.68 and 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (“Act”). In the award, the Tribunal had found that, as a matter of English law, the Government was precluded from relying on matters that could have been raised earlier in the proceedings (namely certain principles of Indian constitutional law) on the basis that they were res judicata. In appealing the award under s69, the Government argued that the Tribunal erred as a matter of law by applying English law to decide the issue of res judicata. In challenging the award under s68, the Government argued there had been “serious irregularity” in this case creating “substantial injustice” by virtue of the Tribunal failing to apply principles of Indian constitutional law.

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Indian Supreme Court orders arbitrator backlog to be cleared

The Indian Supreme Court has directed the High Courts to decide within six months applications to appoint arbitrators that have been pending for over a year.  While the judgment will help reduce a large backlog, it highlights the importance of designating an arbitral institution to oversee the case and appoint the arbitrators to avoid the risk of delay in India related commercial contracts. Continue reading

HSF PARIS TO HOST LCIA EUROPEAN USERS’ COUNCIL BREAKFAST SEMINAR ON 14 JUNE 2022

HSF’s Paris office will be hosting the LCIA European Users’ Council Breakfast Seminar – The Arbitration Act 1996 Review – on Tuesday 14 June 2022 at 8:30am (CEST).

The Law Commission of England and Wales is in the process of conducting a review of the Arbitration Act 1996 to assess what recommendations (if any) should be made to the UK Government for reform.

This seminar will provide an opportunity to investigate the proposed areas for reform, with panellists addressing the dynamics of a unique aspect of the English Arbitration Act in discussion with their fellow panellists and the delegates.

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REMINDER: 43RD FA MANN LECTURE TAKING PLACE 18 NOVEMBER 2021: “INTERNATIONAL LAW BEFORE UNITED KINGDOM COURTS – A QUIET REVOLUTION”

A reminder that the 43rd of a series of annual lectures in honour of the late Dr FA Mann QC (Hon) (1907-1991) will take place in London on 18 November 2021. This series of lectures is arranged by the Partners of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and given under the auspices of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law.

This year’s lecture will be delivered by Justice of the Supreme Court, Lord Lloyd-Jones, on the topic of “International law before United Kingdom Courts – a quiet revolution”. The event is a public lecture and admission is free. Entry is on a first come, first served basis and an early arrival is recommended.

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ENGLISH COURT DETERMINES IT HAS NO JURISDICTION TO PERMIT A COUNTERCLAIM IN ENFORCEMENT PROCEEDINGS

In Selevision Co (a company incorporated in Saudi Arabia) v Bein Media Group LLC [2021] EWHC 2802 (Comm), the English Commercial Court determined that it did not have jurisdiction to permit a counterclaim in the context of an application for leave to enforce a New York Convention Award pursuant to section 101(2) of the English Arbitration Act and CPR 62, underlining the “highly summary” and “streamlined” nature of the enforcement process.

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43RD FA MANN LECTURE TAKING PLACE 18 NOVEMBER 2021: “INTERNATIONAL LAW BEFORE UNITED KINGDOM COURTS – A QUIET REVOLUTION”

The 43rd of a series of annual lectures in honour of the late Dr FA Mann QC (Hon) (1907-1991) will take place in London on 18 November 2021. This series of lectures is arranged by the Partners of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and given under the auspices of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law.

This year’s lecture will be delivered by Justice of the Supreme Court, Lord Lloyd-Jones, on the topic of “International law before United Kingdom Courts – a quiet revolution”. The event is a public lecture and admission is free. Entry is on a first come, first served basis and an early arrival is recommended.

Continue reading