Cecil O. D. Branson is a lawyer and respected leader in the ADR field. Mr. Branson has over 25 years of arbitration and mediation experience. He is a trainer and educator with a number of organizations, including the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria (Vancouver), He has been involved in numerous ADR presentations and panels.
Much has been said about the applicable principles in the New York Convention of 1958 related to the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards. Until recently, less has been said about how the Convention impacts upon the review of international arbitration awards by courts in their country of origin. This paper will address this topic by first dealing briefly with the history of the relationship between courts and the arbitral process to the point where the Convention, since its inception, has dramatically improved the use of arbitration as a viable alternative to national courts in the settlement of international commercial disputes. The paper then develops the role played by the Convention and its interaction with the FAA and the Model law, the controlling legislation in the three NAFTA countries. It then discusses the interpretation of these enactments by the courts and concludes with comments on the practical situation within the NAFTA community as a result of the present state of the law.