Immunity: US Court of Appeals reverses lower court decision that had denied enforcement of foreign arbitral award

In a recent decision handed down on 31 May 2016, the majority in a United States Court of Appeals sitting in Washington DC reversed a decision by the US District Court that had denied enforcement of an arbitral award against the Czech Republic. In Diag Human Se v Czech Republic, the US District Court for the District of Columbia had dismissed Dian Human's enforcement petition on the grounds of lack of subject matter jurisdiction, finding that the Czech Republic had not waived its immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). Upon appeal, by majority, the Court of Appeals held that arbitration exception to the FSIA applied, so that lower court had subject matter jurisdiction. The lower court's decision was reversed and remanded for further proceedings.

A question mark still hangs over the enforcement of the 2008 award (the Award) in the US, as there remains a dispute between the parties as to whether the Award is final.

Continue reading