Paula Hodges QC, Head of Herbert Smith Freehills’ Global Arbitration Practice, has been appointed President of the LCIA Court

Head of Herbert Smith Freehills’ Global Arbitration Practice, Paula Hodges QC has been appointed President of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) Court, effective May 2019.

Paula has headed Herbert Smith Freehills’ global arbitration practice since 2008 and has over 25 years’ experience of advising on international disputes across many jurisdictions, including London, Paris, Geneva, Zurich, Stockholm, the US, Canada, Dubai, Africa, Asia, Russia and the CIS, with particular focus on the energy, telecommunications and technology sectors.  She has also appeared in arbitration-related litigation in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in London and sits regularly as an arbitrator. Her advocacy skills were recognised in 2014, when she was awarded the title of QC.

Headquartered in London, the LCIA is one of the world’s leading international institutions for commercial dispute resolution and, in particular, provides the administration of international arbitration around the globe.  Its Court is made up of leading practitioners in arbitration from the world’s major trading areas and is the final authority for the application of the LCIA rules.

Paula has been Vice President of the Court for several years and also a LCIA Board member for a decade.  Paula will continue to practise full-time at the firm whilst undertaking her new LCIA responsibilities.

Justin D’Agostino, Global Head of Dispute Resolution at Herbert Smith Freehills and Managing Partner for Asia, says: “Paula is an exceptionally talented lawyer and arbitrator and we are very proud of her achievement. This appointment is a testament not only to Paula’s legal excellence but demonstrates the high esteem in which she is regarded by the LCIA and wider arbitration community.”

LCIA-MIAC Joint Venture Agreement Terminated

The London Court of International Arbitration (the LCIA) and the Government of Mauritius have announced the termination of their joint venture which established the LCIA-MIAC Arbitration Centre. LCIA-MIAC was created in 2011 as a focal point for international arbitration in Africa. In terminating the joint venture both the LCIA and the Government of Mauritius have nonetheless restated their commitment to international arbitration both in and in relation to Africa.

The termination will take effect from 27 July 2018. Parties to contracts should not include provisions for LCIA-MIAC arbitration in their arbitration agreements after this date.

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English Court dismisses attempt to set aside LCIA award on grounds of serious irregularity

In the recent case of X v Y [2018] EWHC 741 (Comm), the English High Court dismissed an application to set aside an arbitral award under s68 of the English Arbitration Act 1996 (the Act) on the basis that the claimant should have first exhausted all remedies available to it by applying to the tribunal for correction or clarification of the award under s57(3) of the Act.  The Court found that a tribunal had power under Article 27.1 of the LCIA Rules 1998 to clarify ambiguity in the award, and that Article 27.1 did not, in any case,  oust the tribunal’s equivalent power under s57(3) of the Act. The wording of Article 27.1 in the LCIA Rules 2014 now expressly refers to correcting any ambiguity.

The case is a useful reminder to unsuccessful parties to analyse quickly and thoroughly an award and to ensure that any available process under s57 is exhausted before an application is made under s68. In particular, those who consider that the tribunal’s award is deficient for failing to deal with all issues put to it should assess whether such a complaint may be dealt with under s57(3) as a failure to give (adequate) reasons.

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English High Court grants an anti-suit injunction and confirms that the choice of arbitral seat is “analogous to an exclusive jurisdiction clause”

In Atlas Power v National Transmission and Despatch Company Ltd [2018] EWHC 1052 the English High Court granted a final anti-suit injunction to permanently restrain a national grid company owned by the Government of Pakistan (“NTDC“) from challenging an LCIA Partial Final Award in Pakistan (or anywhere other than England and Wales).

The injunction was granted on the “entirely straightforward” basis that the seat of the arbitration was London.  Phillips J rejected NTDC’s arguments that the courts of Pakistan had concurrent jurisdiction or that the seat of the arbitration was Lahore, Pakistan, and confirmed that an agreement on the seat of the arbitration is also an agreement on the forum for any challenges to an award.  Continue reading

LCIA 2017 Casework Report

The LCIA has recently released its Casework Report for 2017. This report provides an overview of and insights into the LCIA’s caseload. It includes detailed statistics concerning aspects of the caseload with a breakdown by sector, contract type, and time elapsed since the underlying agreement was reached. The Report also looks at arbitrator appointments and the frequency of use of different procedures under the LCIA’s Arbitration Rules (the “Rules”).The statistics show that the institution has had another strong year. Despite a small decrease in referrals from 2016, the overall picture is one of long term growth and a strong international profile. It is also important to note that the LCIA continues to make steady progress its efforts to improve the diversity of arbitrators. The number of female and non-British arbitrators has increased from 2016, albeit at a gradual rate.

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English court sets aside tribunal’s award on jurisdiction, finding that the LCIA Rules do not permit a party to bring claims under multiple contracts in a single arbitration

In its recent decision in the case of A v B [2017] EWHC 3417 (Comm) (available here), the English Commercial Court (the “Court“) set aside the tribunal’s award upholding its own jurisdiction, on the grounds that the LCIA Rules 2014 do not permit a party to commence a single arbitration in respect of disputes under multiple contracts.  As a result, the Claimant’s Request for Arbitration was invalid. The Court also held (contrary to the tribunal’s award) that the Respondent had not lost its right to object to the tribunal’s jurisdiction by failing to raise its jurisdictional challenge until shortly before filing its Statement of Defence.

This is a rare instance of the English court setting aside a tribunal’s award and a significant reminder to parties to transactions involving multiple related contracts to consider efficient resolution of disputes at the contract drafting stage. Continue reading

Sovereign immunity in the DIFC Court

Last week, the Dubai International Financial Centre Court issued its decision in Pearl Petroleum Company Limited & Others v The Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq. The Court upheld its earlier decision which recognised two LCIA arbitration awards totalling US$2 billion issued against the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq (the “KRG”) and dismissed KRG’s arguments (1) that the enforcement proceedings should be set aside on the ground that the Court did not have jurisdiction to make such orders against it, and (2) that the DIFC Court should not decide issues of immunity and its waiver. Continue reading

LCIA Facts and Figures for 2016: another strong caseload

The LCIA has recently released its Facts and Figures for 2016. This report (Facts and Figures – 2016 A Robust Caseload.pdf), which is produced annually, provides an overview of and insights into the LCIA's caseload. It includes detailed statistics concerning aspects of the caseload ranging from the industry sectors concerned, to arbitrator appointments, and the frequency of use of different procedures under the LCIA's Arbitration Rules (the "Rules").The statistics demonstrate that the LCIA caseload continues to grow, attracting disputes from across a number of industry sectors and involving parties from across the world.

Some of the main points from this year's report are set out below.

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New York district court rejects application for use of confidential documents in LCIA arbitration

Beny Steinmetz Group Resources ("BSGR"), a company based in Guernsey and accused of bribery in Guinea, has been denied permission by a Magistrate Judge of the Southern District Court of New York ("SDNY") to use certain confidential documents. These documents were produced in a lawsuit before the SDNY filed by Rio Tinto, and were sought to be used by BSGR in a separate but related LCIA arbitration.

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LCIA releases Registrar’s Report for 2015

Earlier this month the LCIA released its Registrar's Report for 2015. The report, which is produced annually, gives an overview of the LCIA's casework for the year, providing detailed statistics regarding various facets of the LCIA's caseload, including the nature and subject matter of the contracts out of which its cases arise, and key figures about arbitrator appointments and the frequency of use of different procedures under the LCIA's arbitration rules.  

Some of the highlights from this year's report are noted below.

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