Inter-State Arbitration

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Seizing Russia’s Frozen Assets: Quis iudicabit?

As 2024 begins, negotiations on further financial assistance to Ukraine have stalled on both sides of the Atlantic. As a consequence, Western policymakers now increasingly consider confiscating Russia’s frozen assets as a possibility to circumvent the political deadlocks that are blocking further financial aid. Russia, on its part, has already threatened Ukraine’s supporters with retaliation in kind if they should proceed to confiscate its assets. But are there other options for Russia to fight a confiscation of its foreign assets? Could it bring a case before an international court or tribunal, maybe even before the International Court of Justice (ICJ)? The Russian government already indicated a willingness to take legal action against the freeze imposed on its assets. While such claims haven’t materialized yet, the West proceeding from freezing to seizing might well push Russia over the edge and give rise to litigation or arbitration over the fate of the approximately $350 billion in Russian state-owned…

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Non-Signatory Enforcement of Arbitration Agreements Under the New York Convention: the U.S. Supreme Court Weighs In

On June 1st, 2020, the United States Supreme Court (“the Court”) issued a unanimous decision in G.E. Power Conversion France SAS Corp. v. Outokumpu Stainless USA, LLC, holding that the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention” or the “Convention”) does not prohibit non-signatories from enforcing international arbitration agreements under…

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UNCITRAL and ISDS Reforms: What Makes Something Fly?

  When conducting an international negotiation, the Chair has to ask him or herself: what makes something fly? This question really has two parts. The first concerns the negotiations themselves. Once you’ve taken off and achieved a certain cruising speed and altitude, how do you keep the momentum going? Will some flight paths be smoother than…

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An International Investment Advisory Center: Beyond the WTO Model

Establishing an international investment advisory center is now a priority for many states.  UNCITRAL Working Group III has put the issue at the top of its agenda for ISDS reform.  The European Commission is considering an advisory center for its proposed Multilateral Investment Court.  The Netherlands government has commissioned a feasibility study. Thinking about an…

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UNCITRAL and ISDS Reforms: Moving to Reform Options … the Politics

In the last blog, I provided an update on the UNCITRAL process, including the consensus decision from Vienna last week to move forward to consider possible reforms of investor-state arbitration. This decision is very significant. But to get a sense of how this decision was reached and where the process might be heading, I thought…

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