When Foreign Arbitral Awards are Late ... Should U.S. Courts Enforce Them? - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 57, No. 1
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
In arbitration, as in the great traffic of life itself, delays are inevitable. Parties often include a time limit for rendering an arbitration award in their agreements, but even that does not guarantee anything. Thus, Markus Frick asks this question in the following article: Should courts enforce tardy arbitration awards? In the process, he examines a French court decision involving a late foreign arbitration award, as well as American court decisions involving domestic arbitration awards.
There are many reasons why international commercial disputes are submitted to arbitration, one of them being its expected speed. International business partners utilize arbitration to avoid the delay of extended court proceedings.1 But reality shows that busy arbitrators and other factors can lead to arbitration being a lengthy process, lasting for months or even years.
To prevent this from happening, societies as early as the ancient Greeks imposed time limits on arbitrators to complete their mission.2 Today, arbitration agreements often contain time limits providing that the arbitrators must render awards within a certain period. Also, institutional rules like those of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) provide a reference for time limits.3
Most of the time, arbitrators will comply with the applicable rules or with the agreement reached by the parties. But there are instances where arbitrators render a tardy award and thus violate a procedural provision of the agreement. The question arises whether this procedural irregularity represents grounds for denying recognition and enforcement of the entire award.
This article will tackle the question faced by U.S. courts in respect to international arbitration matters: Can tardy award issuance affect the enforcement of a foreign arbitral award in the United States under the regime of the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (“New York Convention”)?4