REUTERS | Tom Nicholson
REUTERS | Tom Nicholson

Procedural flexibility is one of the pillars of international arbitration. In the past year and a half, we have seen how procedural flexibility enables international arbitration to meet and rise above the challenges of a global pandemic. Arbitration practitioners around the world seamlessly and efficiently extended the existing use of video conferencing from case management conferences and procedural hearings to substantive hearings and arbitrator deliberations.

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REUTERS | Yves Herman

Arbitrators are inevitably bound by a duty of impartiality, whether that arises from of article 12 of the UNCITRAL Model Law, article 11 of the ICC Rules 2021, rule 11 of the CIArb Code of Professional and Ethical Conduct, the IBA Guidelines of Conflicts of Interest 2014 or any other applicable rule.  What is sure is that some incarnation of this duty will apply.

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REUTERS | Jorge Silva

In a recent ruling of earlier this year (No. RG 18/05756 – D v. K, Paris Court of Appeal), the Paris Court of Appeal annulled a partial award rendered by a tribunal confirming its proper constitution under the 1976 United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Rules of Arbitration within the context of an appointment under the Agreement on Promotion and Protection and Guarantee of Investments among Member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC Agreement).  Continue reading

REUTERS |

One day short of April Fool’s Day this year saw the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) release its 2020 Annual Report (SIAC Report). Far from being a joke, the report presented some phenomenal figures that appear to cement deeper SIAC’s reputation as one of the leading international arbitration institutions, and Singapore’s reputation as a favoured arbitration hub. Continue reading

REUTERS | Ajay Verma

Much ink has already been spilled on the witness evidence reformswhich came into effect in April 2021 and will have a far-reaching effect on how witness evidence is approached in litigation in the English Commercial Court. Judicial concern about the inappropriate use of witness statements in court proceedings has led to the new Practice Direction (PD) 57AC and Appendix that now apply (with some limited exceptions) to trial witness statements in the Business and Property Courts. The new PD includes important compliance measures which aim to ensure that witnesses and their lawyers focus squarely on the new requirements. Under the new regime, the witness statement must now come with a certificate of compliance in which the lawyer confirms the witness has been told about the rules and that the witness statement complies with the PD and the Statement of Best Practice contained in the Appendix. The witness must also provide a statement of compliance.

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REUTERS | Global Creative Services

Just ask Google.  Whatever the question, our first port of call is to check the internet.  But are arbitrators permitted to go online to research a point of fact relevant to the case before them?  If they do, must they give the parties an opportunity to comment on their findings?  The answers may be different for arbitrations seated in Germany, compared to those seated in England and Wales, and France.

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REUTERS | Enrique Castro-Mendivil

The COVID-19 pandemic has put to the test the resources and skills of governments around the world. Most have taken public health measures to tackle the pandemic, often coupled with additional measures to deal with the attendant economic consequences. As it is often the case when governments flex their regulatory muscle, tension has arisen between the public and the private sectors, particularly in respect of who will pick up the tab. For example, in April 2020 the Peruvian government passed a bill suspending the collection of toll fees on the country’s road network in an attempt to ease the costs of the transport of essential goods and workers. Affected toll road operators have opposed this measure and threatened litigation against the state. A month later, the Mexican government sought to modify the country’s energy regime by restricting private renewable energy generation and granting preferential grid access to facilities generating electricity by conventional means. The rationale for this was reportedly that the pandemic had caused demand for electricity to fall, and the government needed to protect the country’s energy security. In practice, it has been suggested in some quarters that these measures will favour Mexico’s state-owned electricity company. Legal action is ongoing in the Mexican courts.

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REUTERS | Mariana Bazo

On 6 June, the second round of the presidential elections will be held in Peru, which will pit the “Peru Libre” political party against that of “Fuerza Popular”. The future of ICSID arbitration and foreign investments in the country depends on the result of this election.

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REUTERS | Mike Hutchings

This blog describes some of the risks that are emerging as a result of the proliferation and linking of emissions trading schemes. It begins by providing an overview of the development of emissions trading schemes and the creation of links between them. It then considers the dispute risks that may arise from these developments and briefly explores the availability of relief under investment treaties for market participants that lose out when a scheme is altered, cancelled or delinked from another.

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