Mr. Firth is a member of the Law Department of General Mills, Inc. in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His article was prepared while still in law school, and entered in the annual essay contest of the Association's Eastman Arbitration Library.
Settlement of disputes by private arbitration is especially well suited to those disputes arising under international commercial contracts. Provision for arbitration removes the prejudicial element of resort to the national courts of one of the parties for resolution. The local prejudices of national courts may not be escaped, however, if the arbitral award is not voluntarily complied with and judicial assistance in enforcement is necessary. In such a situation, the court requested to assist in enforcement is usually the court in the jurisdiction where the defendant either has his domicile or his property or both. While courts are almost unanimous in acceptance of the principle that they will not review the merits of an arbitral award upon an application for enforcement, it is universally accepted that the award must meet certain requirements according to the law under which it was rendered and according to the law under which it will be enforced before enforcement will follow.