The SNF v. International Chamber of Commerce Case and the Obligation to Conduct Arbitration Proceedings with "Expected Dispatch" - SIAR 2009-1
Elie Kleiman is a partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. The views expressed in this
article are the author’s. The author expresses his gratitude to Julie Spinelli, an associate in the
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s dispute resolution practice in Paris, whose invaluable help
in the preparation of this article should be acknowledged.
Originally from: Stockholm International Arbitration Review
THE SNF v. INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER OF
COMMERCE CASE AND THE OBLIGATION TO
CONDUCT ARBITRATION PROCEEDINGS
WITH "EXPECTED DISPATCH ”
"Back in the days of the French revolution, at the end of the 18th century, a tortoise
was going its nonchalant way in a gallery of the former Royal palace of Saint-Louis.
There, the slow-moving quadruped bumped into a judge…" The above should not
be mistaken for the introduction of some obscure, forgotten French fable.
Any visitors to the former palace of King Saint-Louis, now the Court
House of the City of Paris, may check for themselves: in the "Salle des Pas-
Perdus" next to the statue of the famous advocate and lawmaker Berryer,
there sits, set in marble, a tortoise. On the back of the tortoise lays the foot
of a young woman, the allegory of Justice, in representation of the slowness
of the judicial system.
The relationship between time and justice has many faces to it. If the
dispatch of justice is only one of them, surely it is not the least important.
"Justice delayed is justice denied," the multi-secular adage goes.1 The relatively
young European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) established the
right for every person to be heard within a reasonable time. Lord Woolf
more recently stated in his report on access to justice in 1996, "delay has long
been recognized as the enemy of justice."2 Arbitration is no exception.3 Time has
been said to be "a particularly precious commodity in international arbitral
proceedings."4 However, while, speed has traditionally been said to be part of
arbitration’s advantages, it now appears that, quite often, arbitral proceedings
can be subject to increasing delays. Proceedings can be bifurcated, stayed in