Inter-State Arbitration

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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 the doctrine of equitable estoppel. The Court’s decision adds to a global body of case law that has affirmed the ability of non-signatories to enforce arbitration agreements, and its approach largely mirrors a 2006 Recommendation issued by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) on the proper interpretation of the Convention. However, the Court avoided addressing contentious choice-of-law questions and the role of the principle of consent in establishing the scope of arbitration agreements. These issues remain to be taken up by lower courts. Background Outokumpu USA is a U.S.-based subsidiary of a Finnish steel company that operates a stainless-steel plant. In 2007, Outokumpu entered into a series…

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

Last week has been described as a watershed moment for ISDS reform. During a meeting in Vienna, states decided by consensus on the desirability of developing reforms in UNCITRAL with respect to investor-state arbitration. States now have an opportunity to make proposals for a work plan about what reforms to consider and how to go about considering…

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