The Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of 1958 strictly controls the circumstances in which a national court of a Contracting State may refuse to enforce an arbitral award resulting from a non-domestic arbitration proceeding. The Convention in effect forecloses a court from applying its domestic measures for validity of awards by substituting, instead, a limited menu of reasons why a court presented with a foreign arbitral award may refuse enforcement. The purpose of this limitation on the circumstances under which a Contracting State may refuse enforcement is to ensure the effectiveness of arbitral proceedings as a method of resolving international commercial disputes.
This purpose would be severely undermined if the losing party in an international arbitration could easily litigate the merits of the arbitral proceeding. As one U.S. court put it, "The avoidance of the `vagaries of foreign law for international traders' would be defeated by the allowance of multiple suits ... where the parties have agreed, by contract, to place their dispute in the hands of an international arbitral panel in a neutral legal forum."