“Review of Substantive Reasoning of International Awards by National Courts: Ensuring One-Stop Adjudication, Vol. 23 No. 3 Arbitration International (June 2006).


An arbitral award should be drafted to meet the requirements of the law of the place of arbitration and those of the New York Convention. Article V of the Convention provides the grounds for refusing enforcement of arbitration. Those ground focus on jurisdiction, procedure and public policy. The basic principle is that the jurisdictional and procedural reasoning of an arbitral tribunal is subject to detailed review. Article V does not focus on the substantive reasoning regarding the merits, as one of the basic purposes was to avoid re-litigation of arbitral matters before the enforcing courts. As regards the substantive reasoning, under the New York Convention, there must be a public policy issue. The case law referred to supra, appears to show an evolution on annulment proceedings that corresponds to the approach of the New York Convention. Although statistics are not readily available, review of the cases shows that most applications to annul awards are unsuccessful. In fact, there appears to be little doubt that that has been the pattern for some time. Nevertheless, applications to annul awards are brought regularly, if not systematically….. For parties with a real basis for the annulment of an international arbitral award, the message is clear. The party should focus on jurisdictional or procedural issues if they are available. If these issues are not available, the party should seek to identify public policy grounds to make out a case that the court should not allow the award to stand. The decisions referred to above show similar terms being used by the various courts to express the idea that the arbitral tribunals have the right to be wrong on the merits, which is the price to be paid on occasion for one-stop adjudication.