When does a contract waive a state’s immunity from enforcement?

The decision in General Dynamics (UK) Ltd v State of Libya [2024] EWHC 472 (Comm), turned on whether the sentence “Both parties agree that the decision of the arbitration panel shall be final, binding and wholly enforceable.”, did or did not operate to waive the State of Libya’s immunity from enforcement in accordance with the UK’s State Immunity Act 1978.

The contract was governed by Swiss Law, but the principles of contractual construction under Swiss law were not in dispute. Also not disputed was the fact that no particular form of words are required for a state to waive a part of its immunity.

Continue reading “When does a contract waive a state’s immunity from enforcement?”

English court stays litigation in favour of arbitration

Seven companies have a claim against their former director for breach of fiduciary duties. Three of those companies have an arbitration agreement.

All seven companies bring a claim in the English court against the former director who applies to have the court proceedings stayed in favour of arbitration.

The three claimants with an arbitration agreement concede that they must sue in arbitration, and the question then becomes whether the court claims by the other claimants should be stayed in favour of the arbitration or not.

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Apparent bias and section 24(1)(a) of the Arbitration Act (1996)

The English court seldom removes an arbitrator due to apparent bias (to be distinguished from actual bias), but in the recent case of H1 & Anor v W & Ors [2024] EWHC 382 (Comm), it did. The arbitration concerned film insurance and a dispute over an accident on the film set. The sole arbitrator, a non-lawyer industry specialist nominated by the British Film Institute, was removed for apparent bias following a successful application under section 24(1)(a) of the Arbitration Act 1996.

The judgment is noteworthy for its treatment of section 24 of the Arbitration Act 1996, but also because of Calver J’s decision to anonymise the parties and the arbitrator. Continue reading “Apparent bias and section 24(1)(a) of the Arbitration Act (1996)”

Arbitration in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

By N. Gordon Knox, Partner

Over the last decade, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (the “KSA”) has made significant strides to create a robust arbitration regime.  This is due in part to new arbitration and enforcement laws, an increase in support of the arbitration process from the KSA’s judiciary and, significantly, to the work of a dynamic and innovative arbitration institution – the Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration (the “SCCA”).

The SCCA was established pursuant to Ministerial Resolution No. 257 of 14/6/1435H and became operational in late 2016 when it opened its headquarters in Riyadh.  Its mission is to provide “professional, transparent and efficient ADR services”.  The SCCA also has offices in Jeddah as well as Dubai.

As part of its Vision 2030 Initiative, unveiled in 2016, the KSA articulated its desire to encourage global investment within the Kingdom and diversify is sources of revenue.  The SCCA was established as part of KSA’s plan and one of the SCCA’s goals is to “create a safe environment that attracts both foreign and domestic investment to the [KSA]…. by eliminating obstacles and difficulties related to ADR between investing parties.”  The SCCA administers arbitration and mediation proceedings in both Arabic and English and is dedicated to providing professional, transparent and efficient ADR services, inspired by Sharia law. An arbitration may take the form of a standard arbitration, an expedited arbitration, an emergency arbitration or an online arbitration. Continue reading “Arbitration in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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