Some years ago (back in 1999), I published my very first article in the American Review of International Arbitration, thanks to Professor Bermann who had also offered me the great opportunity to be a Visiting Scholar at Columbia Law School. At the time, I was a student preparing a thesis on “Judicial review of arbitral awards under French and US law”.
This article dealt with the French position on the contractual modification of judicial review of international arbitral awards. At the time, about twenty years ago, the American policy of enforcing arbitration agreements in accordance with the intent of the parties had drawn US courts to give effect to contractual expansion of judicial review. Inversely, French courts would not enforce agree¬ments asking for more expansive judicial review than available under French law. The article briefly examined the existing trend before certain American courts and then explored in more detail the reluctance of their French counterparts to enforce such contractual arrangements.
More than twenty years later, I wanted to look at the situation today as a clin d’oeil to this first piece of work published thanks to Professor Bermann, himself an avowed francophile, as well as a tribute to his appetite for comparative law issues.
The United States and France both share a common policy of promoting arbitration, which is reflected by the ease of enforcing arbitral awards, deference to the parties’ autonomy and limited grounds for the courts to set aside/refuse to enforce an arbitral award.