Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia gives guidance on award enforcement

In an appellate judgment, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia has ruled that a foreign arbitral award is not enforceable because the arbitral tribunal was not constituted strictly in accordance with the parties’ arbitration agreement. Notably, the decision also considers the courts’ discretion to enforce an award even where a party establishes a ground for non-enforcement, an issue on which there was previously “no authoritative statement in Australia”.

The Full Court allowed an appeal from its first instance decision that enforced a foreign award pursuant to the International Arbitration Act 1974 (Cth).

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ENGLISH HIGH COURT REFUSES TO ENFORCE UNCHALLENGED ARBITRAL AWARD IN LIGHT OF NEW EVIDENCE

The English High Court (the “Court“) has refused to enforce an unchallenged arbitral award because doing so would not be in the interests of justice. In the recent case of David Sterling v Miriam Rand and Morris Rand [2019] EWHC 2560 (Ch), the Court was asked to enforce an arbitral award of the London Beth Din (Court of the Chief Rabbi) (the “Beth Din“), which ordered the Defendants to transfer title of a disputed property to the Claimant. However, in a “serious and unusual case”, the Court held that evidence put before it justifying the requested order was inconsistent with evidence put before the Beth Din, and revealed an interested third party in the property, meaning that enforcing the award would be inequitable.

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