V. No Appellate Level

Maybe one of the most striking features of arbitration proceedings in contrast to state court proceedings is the strictly limited possibility to attack an arbitral award. In most arbitration proceedings, there is no board of appeal for full review of the arbitral award to which the losing party could turn to if it is dissatisfied by the process or the arbitral award itself. Only few sets of rules of arbitral institutions, as for example the rules of the American Arbitration Association or the Israeli Institute of Commercial Arbitration, provide for an appellate level for final arbitral awards. Yet, the Israeli Institute of Commercial Arbitration features this opportunity only as part of their general, domestic rules and not as part of their international arbitration rules.

Instead of appealing an arbitral award, the parties can try to have the arbitral award set aside (also referred to as “annulled”) in the country in which the award is rendered. Furthermore, the losing party may try to have its enforcement refused in the country of enforcement. For this to happen, in the majority of cases the preconditions of Art. 34 UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (UNCITRAL Model Law) (with regard to setting the award aside) or Art. V of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (NYC) (with regard to having the award’s enforcement refused) must be met.[1] As will be explained later on in more detail, however, the legal grounds to set aside an award under Art. 34 UNCITRAL Model Law or having the enforcement of an award refused according to Art. V New York Convention are strictly limited.

[1] The UNCITRAL Model Law is a non-binding model law that individual states may adopt as their arbitration law by incorporating it into their domestic laws. It has to be distinguished from the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules which are institutional arbitration rules directed at private parties to choose to govern their arbitral proceedings. Legislation based on the UNCITRAL Model Law has been adopted in 69 states with slight variations. Since therefore the arbitration laws of many States resemble each other to a certain point, the UNCITRAL Model Law shall serve as reference for national arbitration laws for the purpose of this script.

Last modified: Friday, 23 October 2015, 7:14 PM